Sister: A Novel in Poems (Reissue)
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"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."
"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."
"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
"This book embodies the deepest business of literature, to give voice to the torn-out tongue, and it does it the way only poetry can, by singing the song of its story. It's among the best books I've read recently, utterly undeniable, beautifully conjured, with something like perfect pitch. . . . This is Poetry, these are Poems."
--James Baker Hall
"An extraordinarily harrowing and riveting book. . . . Brown's managed, somehow, to create a tone for these poems that I've not heard in a long time--tough, often chilling, yet compassionate and wry by turns. . . . Sophistication laced with vulgarity and shadows."
"What Sister gives us is an unparalleled honesty. . . . Sister is honest in a way that is willing to pay any price, or suffer any hardship, to make sure that the truth gets told. You read this, and it challenges you to address the cost of anything less than truth. It's a shock, but a seductively lovely one, gorgeous even when it is ugly."
"In her debut collection, Brown weaves poetic phrases to take her readers on a journey that satisfies from the initiation to the conclusion, as she enlightens about the dysfunctional yet beautiful intimacies of a sisterly relationship. . . . Brown masterfully captures the essence of poetry by meshing equal parts emotion, storytelling, and style. Brown builds upon the rich tradition of Nikki Giovanni and Bob Hickok to craft her unique abilities in a manner that shows and rightfully deserves respect."
--Ashanti White, Library Journal
"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.' . . . . 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 are brave confessions, apologies and recollections lay everything bare: 'I want nothing/ but truth between us, but I am afraid."
--Publishers Weekly, August 2007