Cate Marvin, Ploughshares

"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.