Stephanie Brown is one of my favorite poets. There's something lethally, courageously blunt in her poems. We sense the speaker is tangled in circumstances she can't control, but, like an anthropologist being crushed in the coils of a python, she is still able to comment in the most incisive, satirical, and empathetic ways on the behavior of the creature. Unafraid of naming the ugliness and compromise of human relationships, Brown's tonal palette is a unique hybrid of zany, tragic, sociological, and vengeful. Her star is stationed somewhere in the quadrant of Sylvia Plath and Anne Carson, and it throbs with its own distinctive human brightness.