of freestyle poetry titled Poetry Unplugged.
Ms. Brodsky first developed her passion for writing poetry following the tragic events of September 11. Living in New York, she took pen to paper to share their grief concerning her friends who were in the towers. This poem, "The Tallest Twins," became the opening piece in Poetry Unplugged. In this collection, she shares a great selection of poetry that reflects on childhood experiences, everyday observations, and her lifetime spent in Brooklyn.
As Ms. Brodsky shares on the back of cover of the book, “Just step inside to find something for everyone!” The same holds true for this week's discussion! Listeners to this podcast interview will learn about the inspiration behind Brodsky’s poetry, her decision to return to school at the age of fifty-five to earn her college degree, and why she has now decided to enter the classroom once again to teach her newly learned craft.
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Author: Irene Brodsky
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com (2009)
Genre and Target Market: poetry; women; education
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS (01/2009)
I am always eager to discover the expression that is shared by an artist through a chosen craft. Whether he is a composer who brought notes together to form a symphony centuries ago or a young poet who thoughtfully constructs her word patterns even before she knows how to tie her shoes, I love to get lost in such honest emotion. As a musician and a writer, I know that any moment or any object can inspire an outpouring of self. I have recently found a new poet named Irene Brodsky who shares much of her personal story in her just published collection of freestyle poetry entitled Poetry Unplugged. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Brodsky and have only had the opportunity for one phone conversation, but I feel that I have some sense of her background and what she holds so dear through her wonderful use of words.
Irene Brodsky, like most Americans across the country, felt a powerful need to express herself after the tragedy of September 11. As a resident of New York City, she had a front-seat perspective on that horrible day and found herself drawn to poetry has her chosen means of releasing her overwhelming emotions. She wrote a compelling piece of poetry entitled “The Tallest Twins” in which she portrays the World Trade towers as her close friends. This personification served as a less painful way of coping with the grief she was experiencing for her friends who worked in those buildings. The poem became the opening selection in Poetry Unplugged and serves as an appropriate and compelling introduction to the rest of her work.
Throughout the poems found in Brodsky’s Poetry Unplugged, one clear characteristic of the author becomes pleasantly apparent. She is a woman who does not have to search to find points of beauty and astonishment in her everyday surroundings, and she never takes this precious realization for granted. There are several poems that recall childhood memories from places like Howard Street or Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Her words in these selections create a nostalgic visual of a New York that, for the most part, exists only in the memory of those who lived through the era. What wonderful pieces these will be for her readers who look back at their own childhoods in New York with fondness. Ms. Brodsky also shows a love for the natural environment, with poems detailing her day spent with a doe, vacations to the Catskill Mountains, and even the simple appreciation for the beautiful color of an apple. When someone’s writing encourages me to take a second look at the ordinary grandeur that surrounds me, I am truly thankful.
Ms. Brodsky’s work also should serve as a source of encouragement for women who are considering a significant change in their life’s path. She chose to return to college at the age of fifty-five and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. There are several poems in Poetry Unplugged that share Ms. Brodsky’s sense of pride at this great accomplishment. Her poem “Graduation Day” encapsulates all of the strong emotions that anyone feels when achieving one of their life goals, from a sense of disbelief to new confidence to just a bit of sadness at saying goodbye to friends. I felt a particular connection to “Spring Has Sprung on the Quad,” with lines such as “Pictures have been taken, The Quad is all aflutter, A special day awaits!” I read this poem several times, and recalled wonderful visuals of my own graduation nearly fifteen years ago. Perhaps some of Ms. Brodsky’s readers will be inspired to create such memories for themselves!
I sat down with Irene Brodsky’s Poetry Unplugged as someone who has great appreciation for the written word, but hardly as a seasoned critic of poetry. I closed the collection of work as a fan of Ms. Brodsky’s use of language and the confident sense of self that gives her poetry both an inviting approach and a real sense of purpose. Her personal story, namely her decision to return to school later in life and now pass on her learned craft to new students, is a wonderful starting point to attract readers before even enjoying her first line of poetry. When readers discover that the quality of her art is such that they want to reread her words to themselves and others, they will hope that another book of poetry is in Ms. Brodsky’s future. Whether or not such a publication is forthcoming, I at least would love to grab a seat in her class one day and experience the contagious excitement she feels for poetry and simply for life.