by Darnell Arnoult
ISBN: 978-1-956440-77-5 paperback $18.95
ISBN: 978-1-956440-78-2 ebook $9.99
Out of grief, upheaval, derision, disappointment, and change of all kinds—from the intimate to the mythic—Incantations both admonishes and rails. Darnell Arnoult’s evocative collection unleashes frustration and longing in tongues of fire. And while her poems walk heaven’s blues home in a rush of images, real and imagined, they point to an undergirding optimism and path toward healing and hope where joy lies “dazed and waiting.” The spells cast here are beyond magic, beyond human—no less than urgent, no more than what’s necessary to begin again.
Praise for Incantations by Darnell Arnoult:
Darnell Arnoult has written some of the South’s most memorable poems of the past quarter-century, and Incantations is her most evocative and mysterious book. This collection shimmers and sparks with an electricity I hear in “that thin, wild mercury sound, metallic and gold and whatever that conjures up” that Bob Dylan envisioned. Arnoult offers strange and beautiful images steeped in sonic and metaphorical richness: “Sun rhythms over a howling serpent telling / you rain is long gone and her children, / light as Venus and drunk as owls, / flood judgment.” These glorious poems manage to be both sharp-edged and lush, a parabolic book of paradoxes, and as “Morning” reminds us, “Glory talks in a hard language.” Listen. Let the widening spell of Incantations transport you through dark portals and back into the welcome and needed light.—Jesse Graves, author of Merciful Days and Said-Songs: Essays on Poetry and Place
The poems that make up this mesmerizing collection are born from the deepest kinds of grief—grief that comes from worlds burning, from death that dances and glides, from widowhood with its “slaughtered and emptied heart.” Our lives are transient; everything changes form, moving from one existence into another before disappearing into the past. As Darnell Arnoult tells us in Incantations, “the human gaze licks itself / with the fascination of sorrow.” Yet she also rejoices in the curative properties of language, how it can bewitch and rescue us from despair. There is salvation in here, and therein lies the magic in this gorgeous and mysterious collection. These poems truly are incantations—charms for remembrance, for protection and rebirth, and always for love, no matter how it may shift its shape.—Denton Loving, author of Tamp
These poems boom and sing. They are tooth and balm and gut. They howl into vine-covered chasms and plumb the depths of human sorrow while traversing a landscape of shadow and ghost. There is an impossible frailty to the world Darnell Arnoult conjures and an impossible strength. Here are prayers wrought of gravel and old pine, choked weeds and rising water—but also of marsh birds and shimmering grasses. A thunderous collection. Blazing and true.—Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread
Darnell Arnoult is the author of the novel Sufficient Grace (Simon & Schuster) and two poetry collections, What Travels With Us and Galaxie Wagon (LSU Press), with shorter works in journals and anthologies. She has received the SIBA Poetry Book of the Year Prize, the Weatherford Award, the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award, and the Mary Frances Hobson Award in Arts and Letters and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives with her family in Mebane, NC. For more about Darnell and her workshops, visit darnellarnoult.net.