The Cipher

The Cipher

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Author: Molly Brodak

Publisher: Pleiades Press (2020)

Molly Brodak’s The Cipher is a deft and unsparing study of the limits of knowledge and belief, and of what solace can be found within those limits. “We stand on the rim of the void,” Brodak writes. “We hold our little lamps of knowing / on the rim, and look in.” Drawing vividly from mathematics, Christianity, European history, urban life, and the natural world, these poems reveal a vision of contemporary experience that is at once luminous and centered on an unshakable emptiness. Wise, sharp, and sometimes devastating, The Cipher leads us through a world in which little can be trusted, takes its measure, and does not look away.