From Publishers Weekly
Brown's forthright debut opens with an intimate address to a sister: I tell you this story because it is/ the story we need/ to believe our offal is divine. The poems that follow fuse together the speaker's harrowing history: her birth to an unwed teen, a stepfather's abuse and her teenage escape in a car packed with all her belongings and half a tank of gas. Despite its excesses and reliance on the well-worn imagery of a dusty and impoverished South, this is a striking collection. The strongest poems are those stripped of commentary, in which rough memories are offered as strange discoveries, as in Jessica Meyers in the Corn: In puddles of seeping/ groundwater, I plugged in electrical cords and her skin/ burned black. These brave confessions, apologies and recollections lay everything bare: I want nothing/ but truth between us, but I am afraid. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
At once fleeting and solid, Nickole Brown s Sister is a quietly moving, deeply felt record of the burnished world, a lovely album of one pilgrim s time on earth, thus far. --Carole Maso
Using umbilicus as guide rail, the speaker of Nickole Brown's Sister an unflinching and deeply intelligent first book undertakes a hair-lifting expedition back to her childhood so as to return herself to the arms of a younger sister both long neglected and longed for. Proving that narrative and lyric are never mutually exclusive, Brown pulls the reader down the rain-swollen rush of river where her past gurgles with the sound of diesel, to reveal the pedophile a man who simply // cannot stop. These poems, always stunning in their clairvoyance, advise us to take such experience and simply / bury it, but bury it / alive. I cannot imagine a world in which one could read this book and not experience the confluence of dismay and wonder. --Cate Marvin, Ploughshares
The poems that comprise this haunted narrative are speckled with waterbeds, frosted hair, home pregnancy tests, disco, cigarettes, and black-light posters. The story is of a childhood mired in the 1970s. It is a dark, almost unforgivable world, yet in writing these grim and vivid poems, Nickole Brown has dredged up that all too rare human gift mercy. --Maurice Manning