159.1: Molly Brodak:: Membrane & Totem Pole & Tachyon & Pair
4 November 2013
Molly Brodak's poetry offers us concepts more often found in science classes than in lyrics: membranes, amoebas, tachyons. Such is the stuff of microorganisms and quantum physics, phenomena at a scale so small that their activity begs us to ask the question (as Robert Frost once did): does design govern things so miniature? Brodak's answer would be a resolute "sort of": the movements operating in these miniature environments suggest Nature at play more than Nature designed. But Brodak's poems are not strictly about scientific or metaphysical questions. Readers will not find meditations upon the nature of microbes or upon the Planck length; instead, readers will find a personal poetry that dramatizes a speaker who, like the subject in "Pair," scrambles to "affirm" herself. This scrambling is both hopeful and impossible, as the juxtaposition of dry scientific registers and personal commentary suggest. One example, taken from "Membrane," associates the movement of benthic creatures and unconsciousness: "Thread tracks / on the seafloor show them rolling nowhere for thousands of years. In dreams." This strategy dramatizes the process of scrambling toward a definition of self and other: a self emerging, a self flickering into its multiple existences.