HARROGATE, Tenn. — In Galaxie Wagon (LSU Press, $17.97) Darnell Arnoult navigates the territory of middle age to find humor, heartbreak and wisdom in a phase of life where the body begins to betray itself, yet romance is still possible and childhood dreams are still attainable.
LSU Press released this second collection of poetry from Arnoult, Lincoln Memorial University’s (LMU) writer-in-residence, earlier this month. The poems are down-to-earth, yet thoughtful and accomplished as well, drawing on the imagery of the TV westerns that shaped Arnoult’s childhood.
“If you covet speed and yearning, then ride shotgun with Darnell Arnoult behind the wheel of Galaxie Wagon, her unforgettable new volume of poems. The conversation is stunning, sacramental, even in the plummets and hairpin turns,” said Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate (2012-2014). “She not only invests in language but devours it, returning it on the page like canon law, forged in the fiery writ of her ever-channeled ancestors and her unrivaled wit and passion. Shield your eyes and buckle up. Arnoult is a practiced, elegant driver, but her light is often blinding.”
Arnoult’s first collection, What Travels With Us: Poems, received the 2005 Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature in the category of fiction and poetry from the Appalachian Studies Association and Berea College, was named 2006 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Book of the Year and was a finalist for Appalachian Poetry Book of the Year in 2005. A novel, Sufficient Grace, published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, followed in 2006. Sufficient Grace received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and positive reviews from Book List, Kirkus, American Library Association and National Association of the Mentally Ill. It was selected for the Book Sense annual reading group list and nominated for several regional awards. Additionally, Arnoult was honored as Tennessee Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writers Alliance in 2007 and was awarded the Mary Frances Hobson Prize in Arts and Letters from Chowan University in 2009.
Arnoult holds a master of fine arts from the University of Memphis, where she held a Moss Fellowship and served as Senior Fiction Editor for the program’s award-winning literary journal, The Pinch. She received a master of art in English and Creative Writing from North Carolina State and a bachelor of art in American Studies with a concentration Southern Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied with Lee Smith.
Arnoult was born in Martinsville, Virginia, with aspirations of being a cowgirl almost immediately. Growing up in Virginia, she lived and worked in North Carolina for 20 years before moving to Tennessee in 1999. Following her marriage to William Brock, in 2000, she became a full-time writer.