Broetry: Poems for the Frat Boy in All of Us

What? You don't have a frat boy in you? Well, you might get a kick out of Brian McGackin's (AKA the "Broet Laureate's") slender-but-fun volume of poems anyway. They include gems like this, a bro-tastic send-up of William Carlos Williams' "This is Just to Say" --

I have finished
the beer
that was in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for Friday

Forgive me
this girl came over
so sweet
and so hot

Broems, McGackin told NPR, are poems for people who don't usually like poems: dudes. Although he's quick to note that many of our most lauded poets had dude-ish qualities: "Robert Frost liked baseball; he wrote about sports. His poetry was always very accessible. Even Shakespeare — Shakespeare was just writing about chicks."

The book, which occupies an hallowed spot on my shelf (just between The Waste Land and Harry Potter, somehow appropriate) is full of haikus, sonnets, and rhyming free-verse poems, some of which are, like the poem above, sort-of-parodies of famous poems ("O Captain! My Captain America!") as well as plenty of originals ("Ode to That Girl I Dated for, Like, A Month Sophomore Year," "Why Do Buses Smell?"). It could be the perfect way to get a reluctant reader of poetry into a book of verse (and by the way, if I had to give it an MPAA-style rating, I'd say it's about a PG). Check it out, bro!

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College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
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One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

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North America: East or West Coast?
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