Blog Archives

2012 Commemorative Stamps: 20th Century Poets!

Check this out – Awesome, right? Nice work, USPS.


Odes, from a Dude – “Broetry: Poetry for Dudes” by Brian McGackin

Living in Chicago’s Lakeview/Lincoln Park area, I am constantly surrounded by “Bros.”

I live less than a block from one of Chicago’s most notorious douchey bars, and pass it every single day on my way home from work.  It’s safe to say that side-tilted baseball hats are nothing new to me.  Most of the time, this whole attitude of young dude entitlement makes me want to hit something.

In his introduction to “Broetry,” (which is subtitled – “Like poetry, but awesome”)  Broet Laureate Brian McGackin states that “Broetry is a literary chili cheeseburger.”

It’s true.

Chili cheeseburgers are delicious and make you smile, just like this book.

“Broetry” is a simply hilarious collection of around 50 poems showcase that dudes can be sensitive too.  They care about lots of things other than sex, sports, and beer.  This is not to say that those three topics are ignored in this collection.  Far from it, some of the best pieces in the book pertain to these very things – McGackin holds nothing back as he expresses his appreciation for women in poems about cougars, Pocahontas, and the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls.  We also hear the story of how he tried to read the Harry Potter series to impress a girl.

But how dare we generalize! Dudes like other stuff too.  For example, there’s an ode to Captain America (done in the style of “O Captain, My Captain!,)” several tributes to gaming, and a poetic love letter (my personal favorite) to Golden Grahams cereal.  Because who doesn’t love cereal? I love cereal.

For the dudes in your life, I think this book might be the best gift ever.  For the ladies and sensitive-types, you’ll laugh.



Slam poetry about Mary Shelley. Woot.

Here’s the talented Hadas Goshen performing a slam poetry piece called “Mary Shelley.”

Letters to the world – “Selected Poems & Letters of Emily Dickinson” edited by Robert N. Linscott

Though I’m admittedly not much for poetry, I occasionally go through mini-phases where I feel like I need to learn more about the art form in order to be a better and more complete reader of the world.  Emily Dickinson, to me, is always a safe starting point.  I find her poems to be clever, amusing, and deceptively simple when in fact they’re addressing all sorts of issues from love to death.

“Selected Poems & Letters of Emily Dickinson” is a really sweet collection of the poet’s body of work.  From her 1,775 poems, many are selected, and combined together with a bunch of letters she wrote to people in her life.  The famous hermit lived through her words and wrote to people all over – from relatives to teachers to other writers. In addition, there’s the recollection of Thomas Wentworth Higgins (a clergyman) of his correspondence with Ms. Dickinson through letters over a series of years.

If I had a squabble, it would be that Ms. Dickinson notoriously used dashes in her poems in place of other punctuation, and the editor of this book has removed them in favor of more correct and common punctuation.  (Though trying to tie her down with commas and semi-colons doesn’t stop her obvious brilliance.)

Punctuation aside, this 1959 collection would be a great introduction to Dickinson – and it’s going to be a great addition to my bookcase.  Granted, the rest of the poetry on my shelf is slim. (Literally, there’s a Whitman collection and a book called “The Sounds of Silence”.  That’s it.)

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

Saturday (Poetry) Slam: Tahani Salah

Damn. Get it, girl.

That’s the power of words, right there.


Saturday (Poetry) Slam – Eric Darby

Today’s poetry slam is brought to you by Eric Darby – “Scratch & Dent Dreams.”

Happy Saturday, friends!

Saturday (Poetry) Slam – Sarah Kay

I don’t know how long I’ll keep posting Slam Poets on Saturdays but, for now, I’m kind of loving it.

Here’ Sarah Kay, performing ‘Hands.”

Saturday (Poetry) Slam!

Last Saturday, I posed a video of slam poet Katie Makkai performing her wonderful piece, “Pretty.”

That’s got me looking at other slam poetry – and I’ve made some wonderful discoveries.

Like this dude – Taylor Mali.

Enjoy. (And he’s totally right.)

On Saturday, some slam poetry.

I’m not much for slam poetry or, if we’re being honest, poetry in general. Perhaps this is just my weakness as a book nerd, or perhaps I had to dissect “Ode on a Grecian Urn” too many times in high school.  Who knows?

Anyway – Recently I saw a video that knocked me on my a$$.

I thought it needed to be shared here, as it’s making waves in the facebook and blogosphere.

This is veteran slam poet Katie Makkai performing “Pretty” at the 2002 National Poetry Slam.  Prepare to be amazed.

Now THAT is an effective way of using words. Get it, girl.

Maybe I’ll have to go check out Chicago’s Uptown Poetry Slam after all.