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What Travels With Us


72 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / None


  Paperback / 9780807129890 / November 2005

With a storyteller's timing and the emotional range of a singer, Darnell Arnoult in her debut collection offers readers a stirring string of poems about the people of Fieldale, Virginia. A planned community founded in the Virginia foothills by Marshall Fields in the early 1900s to support his textile mill, Fieldale was populated by transplanted Appalachian mountain folk. Arnoult herself grew up there, a third-generation resident and among the first generation to go to college. She took away with her the oral history of her home, and in What Travels With Us she captures in poetic form the townspeople's voices, both remembered and imagined. Personal, poignant, and witty, Arnoult's poems look back as they move forward, demonstrating how we are always creating ourselves anew from the experiences we carry with us.

Pearly Rakes complained 
that on long winter nights
Gracie and Charlie
kept the parlor lamp
burning too long,
burning up her kerosene.

Pearly claimed 
she courted and married 
the same man twice
and never burned up
nearly so much.

Charlie scratched his head.
Told Pearly,
You musta done most of
your courting in the dark.

—from "Boarding House" 

A native of Virginia, Darnell Arnoult teaches at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. Her previous collection of poems, What Travels with Us, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the Appalachian Studies Association's Weatherford Award.

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