On Sunday, October 26th, Button attended a Twin Cities community meeting organized by TruArtSpeaks and hosted by Juxtaposition Arts, addressing our organization’s recent actions in the Twin Cities, specifically our announcement of a prospective Educational Initiative.
Button would like to publicly recognize the historical and social implications of our actions, as they reflect a larger narrative of organizational oppressive practices. We are incredibly thankful for the people who put this meeting together, and all the community members who attended and shared their questions and perspectives. It was an educational and humbling experience. Button would like to once again apologize for the harm and hurt that our actions have caused members of the Twin Cities spoken word community, and the way in which our proposed Initiative supported a culture of privilege and injustice.
During and after the meeting, we had a number of constructive conversations with members of the community about positive steps moving forward. As suggested by TruArtSpeaks, Button is committed to undergoing a racial equity analysis and social justice training, and continuing to better educate the members of the Button team. Additionally, we are taking steps towards better communication within the organization, so that we can avoid these kinds of failures. Personally, I took a number of actions in haste and without consulting other members of the organization, and I am dedicated to correcting that mistake in the future.
As the Director, I am excited to continue this positive and respectful growth in our actions and engagement with the community. As an additional and specific action to create more possibility for dialogue and transparency, I will be holding regular, open hours at the Button office in the coming months, for anyone who would like to voice their comments or concerns or otherwise engage in dialogue with Button and myself. The first opportunity will be December 5th from 6-8pm at Button’s office at 1219 Marquette Suite 100 Minneapolis, MN 55403. Please stay tuned for additional information and times.
Only two days until the release of Button’s first eBook! VIRAL features new and classic work from Lily Myers, Neil Hilborn, Javon Johnson, Rachel Rostad, Dylan Garity, Guante and Pages Matam. Today, we wanted to offer everyone a sneak preview of the book, with the foreword from Button Head Editor Michael Mlekoday. We might just be turning into a couple of softies, but we actually teared up reading this for the first time (and, you know, again right now).
Button Poetry and Exploding Pinecone Press are delighted to announce J. SCOTT BROWNLEE as the winner of our 2013 chapbook competition, judged by Rachel McKibbens. Brownlee’s chapbook, Highway or Belief, will be published this winter.
Stay tuned for more from Brownlee, and to find out the rest of our winter chapbook catalog.
J. SCOTT BROWNLEE is a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at NYU, where he teaches poetry to undergraduates and fifth graders through the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. His work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, RATTLE, Beloit Poetry Journal, Nashville Review, Ninth Letter, BOXCAR Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, Devil’s Lake, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and elsewhere. A Pushcart nominated poet-of-place, Brownlee writes primarily about the people and landscape of rural Texas and is a founding member of The Localists, a new literary movement that emphasizes place-based writing of personal witness, cultural memory, and the aesthetically marginalized working-class, both in the United States and abroad. His book-length work, Disappearing Town, was named a finalist for the 2013 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
In the next few months, watch for more video, our first ever Ebook release, new books from new authors, more contests, entirely new products (maybe even sweaters!), and much more. Thanks to everyone for supporting us and this art form. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
-Sam & Dylan
D: Is buttoneers a pun on boutonnières? There’s really no reason for it to be. Our community are not tiny flowers.
S: Nah, I think it’s more like being a poetry buccaneer. Fans of poetry with snazzy boots.
D: As long as it’s not like being a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. ‘Cause they are bad at football. Sports reference. We’re not nerds.
There is no doubt about it – things are definitely heating up here, over at Button! As we inch closer to a major first for both our org and for author Aziza Barnes (you guessed it, it’s our first book release!) there seems to be an increasingly audible hum in the air around the ‘office’. Some might say that the hum is just tinnitus, or the air conditioner, but I say it is the merry sound of progress! Cannot wait for the 12th of July and the official release of me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun.
Aside from a complete visual overhaul, the site now offers more information about us and our poets, a fully functional store, and a better way to keep up with current projects, so check it out!
We’ve done the best to make this new website work well for everyone. That said, if part of the site isn’t working for you, please let us know along with your browser, version, and OS so we can correct it ASAP.