History

 

2011

Button Poetry was founded in 2011 by Sam Cook and Sierra DeMulder, who were shortly joined by Rachele Cermak, and Heidi Lear. They launched the first Button website and blog.

In March, Button hosted its first recording party to produce Button Poetry: Volume One, featuring Sierra DeMulder, Sam Cook, Dylan Garity, Hieu Nguyen, Kait Rokowski, and Shane Hawley, along with many other Twin Cities poets.

Starting in May, Sam and Button teamed up with Poetry Observed to film and produce a series of high-quality poetry videos.

 

2012

Sam Cook and Dylan Garity rebranded Button with a stronger focus on video and social media. Under their direction, Button launched several new projects, including the Button Tumblr and Button Youtube.

In April, Button filmed its first poetry tournament—the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI).

In June, Button traveled to the Rustbelt Regional Slam for our second major filming operation. Michael Mlekoday joined the Button  team to launch the inaugural Exploding Pinecone Chapbook Competition, judged by Bao Phi.

In August, Button filmed at the National Poetry Slam (NPS) in Charlotte, NC.

In October, Intermedia Arts awarded Sam Cook and Dylan Garity a Verve Grant for Spoken Word Artists to facilitate video projects. Button also released its second album, by Sam Cook and Michael Lee.

 

2013

In February, Button released its third album, The Good News Poetry Tour 2013, featuring Dylan Garity, Neil Hilborn, and Hieu Nguyen.

In March, Button filmed the Women of the World Poetry Slam (WoWPS) in its hometown of Minneapolis.

In April, Button returned to the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, capturing over 50 performances. In the aftermath of WoWPS and CUPSI, the YouTube channel grew, reaching over 5,000 subscribers and 500,000 views in a matter of weeks.

In May, Button began the process of expanding it’s roster, first working with Abbie Shain and Lewis Mundt and shortly thereafter reincorporating originating members Sierra DeMulder and Heidi Lear.

In June, Button returned to the Rustbelt Regional Slam, where we captured video including Neil Hilborn’s iconic “OCD”, now the most-viewed slam performance in history.

In July, Button released its first perfectbound book, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, announced the second annual Exploding Pinecone Contest (judged by Rachel McKibbens), and launched this website along with Button’s first webstore.

In August, Button ventured to the brisk city of Cambridge, MA to capture the 2013 National Poetry Slam. That same week, Button blew up an internet video to over 4 million views, which began a series of mentions of Button and Button poets in major media including (but not limited to): NPR, Fox News, Time, The Huffington Post, and Upworthy.

In October, Button criss-crossed the Mid- and Southwest to film poets at the Texas Grand Slam and Great Plains Poetry Pile Up festivals.