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Oxford American calls FANNY SAYS 'essential,' a 'metaphoric hope chest'

FannySays_Front_smaller Oxford American praises Nickole Brown's new collection Fanny Says for its realism and ability to "weave a double narrative that folds together both a granddaughter's recollections and a grandmother's persona." "We don’t choose our grandmothers, and they don’t choose us, either," says the review. "Fanny Says is a book of poems that speaks to these natural selections, the cross-generational connections that make us members of families and of nations." An "unleashed love song" to her late grandmother, Nickole Brown's collection brings her brassy, bawdy, tough-as-new-rope grandmother to life. With hair teased to Jesus, mile-long false eyelashes, and a white Cadillac Eldorado with atomic-red leather seats, Fanny is not your typical granny rocking in a chair. Instead, think of a character that looks a lot like Eva Gabor in Green Acres, but darkened with a shadow of Flannery O'Connor. A cross-genre collection that reads like a novel, this book is both a collection of oral history and a lyrical and moving biography that wrestles with the complexities of the South, including poverty, racism, and domestic violence. "What makes this book essential to the growing cannon of writers confronting the American heritage is that these poems resist sympathy. Brown resists being the victim of a grandmother who was loved dearly, but who, once you peeled away her sass and humor, was a racist. Instead, Brown offers us a woman cloned from tradition and circumstance, a woman loved. Fanny failed to realize her humanity and the humanity of her maid, Bernie May, as equal—and that’s just the way it was. Racism, sexual violence, sexism, sexuality, and history all come to blows in this powerful litany while the discovery of a woman’s rooted hate entangles with the poet’s own family roots." "The imagery is blunt, the dialect true, and what unfolds is a metaphoric hope chest, a series of living flashbacks through which Brown creates a poetic treatise on memory’s workings. . . . With subtle technique, Brown encourages the reader to take liberty with these crisp narratives and provokes us to imagine Fanny beyond the page." Click here to read the full Oxford American review, "There Was a Woman." Fanny Says is now available for purchase in the BOA Bookstore.
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