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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Broetry: Poetry for Dudes is a Book That Actually Exists

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge broetry_cover_mcgackin.jpg

The biggest problem with Broetry, the first book of "broems" from "broete laureatte" Brian McGackin, is a doozy: the book actually contains poems.

Sure, Broetry looks like some dick-lit tchotke, some broverwrought marketing concept aimed at landing books in frat boy bathrooms or the tables in Urban Outfitters.

Sure, the table of contents promises titles like "Haikougar," about predatory older women, or "Pocahotness," about having it bad for Disney heroines, or "Ode to That Girl I Dated for, Like, a Month Sophomore Year," about some young woman with the good sense to get the hell away.

But there is no denying that those cutesy titles correspond to poems -- some clever, some godawful, some angry, some tender, and plenty that are pretty much geeked-out versified pop-culture riffs that might fit better on a Tumblr -- or a Xanga, even. But they're still poems, no matter how they're sold, poems of words arranged into verse with the intention of being read, savored, mulled upon, and then etched - however lightly - upon the soul of the reader.

In one, McGackin apologizes for finding too-young Taylor Swift attractive, and calls her the reason "for the teardrops on my laptop." Later, the drudging labor of "Cleaning Off My George Foreman Grill" blooms - as in the Beatles' "Fixing a Hole" - into a rumination upon the world the narrator has come to inhabit has become as the years have passed.

And they aren't even as "bro" as you might expect. McGackin seems more geek than Abercrombie, since poems like "Oh, Captain! My Captain America" presuppose a knowledge of great American writers Walt Whitman and Stan Lee, and "Why You Should Listen to Classical Music" presupposes you might be interested in learning why you should listen to classical music.

That one opens, "Two Words. John Fucking Williams." At the end of the first stanza, McGackin writes

"When Darth Maul gets chopped

in half (::spoiler alert::), Obi Wan

is grooving to some classical music."

This is barely poetry, and it's hardly for dudes. But that same poem goes on to suggest fans of Lethal Weapon 2 might like Wagner ("frost giants, godsex, Vikings, demons, classical music"), calls Mahler and Debussy "gangster," and ultimately exemplifies the dirty secret behind the broetry concept: McGackin's jokey nonsense is actually breadcrumbs. The silly titles lead to those actual poems that - however weak - he hopes might lead an audience to something more edifying.

He's trying to turn consumers into readers.

Next: Broetry calls pizza-for-one mascot Mama Celeste a "frozen whore"

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Alan Scherstuhl

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