Molly Brodak, Poet and Memoirist of Her Father’s Crimes, Dies at 39


“The only thing I’ve learned is that there are no easy answers; that simplistic narratives cannot be so easily laid over the messy and unpredictable events of the real world,” she wrote.

Molly Aviva Brodak was born in Detroit on March 29, 1980, and grew up in Rochester, Mich. Her father worked for General Motors and other manufacturers, and her mother was a therapist.

They married and divorced twice, most recently in 1988, and Ms. Brodak lived primarily with her mother while her sister lived mainly with their father.

Ms. Brodak graduated from high school in Rochester in 1998, earned a bachelor’s degree at Oakland University there in 2004, then earned a master’s degree in creative writing from West Virginia University in 2008. She moved to Atlanta in 2011 to take part in a fellowship at Emory University, where she also taught.

She taught creative writing, composition, poetry and world literature at colleges like Augusta State University, the Savannah College of Art and Design and most recently at Georgia College and State University. She was also a baker who appeared on “The Great American Baking Show” in 2019, the same year she started a home baking business called Kookie House.

She married Mr. Butler in 2017. An earlier marriage to Matthew Porter ended in divorce.

In addition to her husband, survivors include her mother; her sister, now Rebecca Gale; and her father, whom she saw, briefly, after he was released from prison last year.

In 2018 Ms. Brodak earned a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which she used to travel to Poland for research on another memoir about the fluid nature of nationality, based on her father’s parents, who were killed in the Holocaust. Mr. Butler said that the book, “Alone in Poland,” had not yet found a publisher, but that another book of Ms. Brodak’s poetry, “The Cipher,” was scheduled to be published by Pleiades Press this fall.

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