I finished Molly Brodak’s The Flood today—a chapbook of poems from Coconut Books that I received from Brodak while I was in Chicago for AWP. Her ekphrastic poems respond to Uccello paintings and resources like Franco & Stephano Borsi’s Paolo Uccello (Abrams, 1994) and Jean-Louis Schefer essays from The Enigmatic Body (Cambridge, 1995) are credited as “research for this chapbook.”
I’m becoming increasingly more fond of this idea of associating creative product with research. I’m not saying that it’s imperative that all creative works come with their own bibliography, but in terms of academia there are a lot of people who disregard the possibility that poetry can be more than a ‘creative process.’ This is why I recently reviewed Michelle Disler’s Bond, James and why I’m so attracted to achievements like that of the poetry in Colin C. Post’s Aleph in the Cellar—an Open Thread chapbook from 2009 that explored the aleph (a mathematical term signifying multiple infinities). In The Flood, Brodak’s poems brilliantly utilize and extend beyond their source material. They dream. They confront.
as if right up next to the dying man.
You are already late to this image.
The “you” in Brodak’s poems scratches at us like time—dilemma-busy and troubling. As the use of “you” interpellates readers, we find ourselves questioning the ways in which we perceive a work of art. When ‘is’ the painting finished? Brodak’s imagery and musings are neither obtrusive or elucidating. The Flood poses readers to challenge mediums before accepting them as truth or finite.
You can read poem excerpts from The Flood [here] and [here].