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

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 and teach there.

In Georgia, she also taught creative writing, composition, poetry and world literature at Augusta State University, the Savannah College of Art and Design and, most recently, Georgia College and State University. An accomplished baker, she appeared on “The Great American Baking Show” on ABC 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 in the fall.

Ms. Brodak left behind many more poems, Mr. Butler said, including a book of them called “Folk Physics,” which she sent him on the day she died, and which he hopes to publish.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at

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