By Marty Mulrooney
Broetry is a contemporary poetry book written by Brian McGackin. It contains poetry written for men, about stuff that men are actually interested in. Cue poems about Star Wars conventions, video game tournaments and Taylor Swift…
I hear FIFA in the other room,
But I’ve got too much work to do.
It’s calling like a shot of whiskey
Must have called dads back in the fifties.
Extract from Kids Today
In this book’s introduction, first time author Brian McGackin describes Broetry as ‘a literary cheeseburger’. In some ways, I think he may have sold himself a little short. Even the most avid reader or staunch fan of the written word can struggle to appreciate poetry. McGackin isn’t saying Broetry is the solution. What he is saying is that “if you think you don’t like poetry, you just haven’t found a poem that’s right for you.”
Broetry is much more than just a loose set of poems based around guy-centric topics. Brian McGackin does what any good poet should, drawing from his own life for inspiration and creating poems that are much more vivid and personal as a result. The book is split into five sections – High School to Hangovers, Sophomoronic, Girls, Girls, Graduation, Extreme Poverty Is the New Poverty and Twenty-Five to Life – taking us through a small lifetime’s worth of experiences and memories.
Wake up, log on, your life’s a mess:
you’re on Craigslist hitting refresh.
It is boring you to death,
this part-time job search.
Extract from Part-Time Job Search
The range of topics discussed are wide and varied, from Disney cartoons to Final Fantasy games, dreams with Bruce Willis in them to morning sex – “The single best way a man can start his day. I’m not sure where it falls on the list for women.” The topics are fun and relatable, especially to men of a certain age – or rather 20-something men who are still boys deep down. British readers will miss some references – for example I’ll Take “Crazy Bitches” for $200, Alex, which I assume references an American game show, went right over my head – but for the most part this is a book that will remain relatable to any ‘bro’.
My only real complaint is perhaps a criticism against poetry in general. Sometimes, a poem can just seem like regular sentences snapped apart and scattered across multiple lines, especially when there is no sense of rhyme or rhythm. This criticism certainly applies to a few of the poems contained within Broetry, and as a result the different styles employed can often make or break each individual poem. Although it is a basic thing, the poems with words that rhyme often flow much more effectively, letting the humour beneath rise to the surface.
The young girl asks her
mother, I listen, because
I want to know, too.
Why Do Buses Smell?
Broetry is a delightful little poetry book that manages to evoke many a sly smile and knowing nod whilst being read. If you are totally adverse to poetry, I doubt this will be the book to change your mind. However, if approached with an open mind, Broetry could very well offer readers something new and help them discover a new form of literary art. Don’t be fooled by the poem topics and target audience: when all is said and done, Broetry is full of seriously good poetry.
8 OUT OF 10