Melissa Newman-Evans – “9 Things I Would Like to Tell to Every Teenage Girl” (250K Views!)

“The world is trying to kill you.
It is trying to do this by stealing your voice.”

Congratulations to Melissa Newman-Evans on topping 250,000 views on this excellent poem! Check out more great work from Melissa here and here.
And while you’re here, make sure to check out our books and merch as well, including our awesome t-shirts and poster and new books by Jacqui Germain and Hanif Abdurraqib!

Best of Button Week 75

“If I were another person, I think I’d still be mentally ill. It’s impossible to imagine a color you haven’t seen.”

Don’t miss this week’s Best of Button playlist, featuring the top-viewed recent videos on the Button YouTube Channel. Today’s additions: Neil Hilborn & Ashe Vernon. Congratulations poets!
While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including books by Aziza Barnes, Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn and our JUST-RELEASED book from Hanif Abdurraqib!

Button Round-Up 11

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Another week has passed, which can only mean one thing. It’s time for another Button Round-Up! This week we have some new poems, intriguing essays, and more!

Brooklyn Poets Reading Series for the NYC Poetry Festival
This one is for all our fans back in my hometown of NYC. The festival is open this weekend, and tomorrow starting at 11 AM on Governors Island will be a long feature set by the Brooklyn Poets. Why not enjoy poetry while basking outside in the summer sun?

“Beyond the Benefit” by Guante
Friend of Button and two-time National Poetry Slam champion Guante published an essay on his website this week challenging artists from all walks of life to become more active in building and maintaining various movements for change. Guante write, “I believe that as artists, we have more to offer than our art.” Give this a read, then get out there and make a difference!

“In Service of Staying Alive” by Lynne Procope
Former National Poetry Slam champion Lynne Procope recently published this poem in the Offing Magazine. Beautiful in message, “In Service of Staying Alive” also challenges form and has become one of the more uniquely written poems I’ve seen lately. Be sure to check this out if you’re looking for something a little different!

Three Poems by Nick Flynn
This week the internet was given not one, not two, but three new poems by the ever talented Nick Flynn. Two of the poems are closely tied to the theme of fatherhood, while the third is a critique of the modern day practice of wasting time as we “scroll, scroll, scroll.”

Inside the 2016 Man Booker Longlist by Arnav Adhikari and Tyler Parker
The Man Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious and sought after literary prizes in the world. The 2016 list of possible winners was recently released, and in this article many options are noted and briefly reviewed. Use this to fuel your next reading list! How many of these novels have you read?

“The story’s the thing at the Moth” by Niki Patton
This article is all about a different type of slam, story slams. The Moth, started in 1997, has since spread to many cities across the country and feature slam style bouts with storytelling rather than poetry as the main focus. Check out this article and support The Moth if they exist in your hometown!

And so ends another week’s worth of links and poems and fun times. I don’t know what you’ll take away from this Round-Up, but I sincerely hope it’s something you can use actively and positively moving forward. See you next week, when we’re all older and stronger!

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Spencer Brownstein is a poet, student, and Button staffer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves beanies, dogs, and a nice cigarette after dinner.

Writing Prompt #2

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Writing Prompt #2 (w/ Jesse Parent)

Hey Button fans! With the chapbook and video contests in full swing, we’re excited to feature another writing prompt to help you with your own writing. If you’re comfortable, please share what you write in response to the prompt in the comments below this post (and feel free to use it for either of your contest submissions!) You can check out responses to our previous prompt here.
Today’s prompt comes courtesy of Jesse Parent. For further inspiration, you can check out some of Jesse’s work on the Button channel here, here and here. The prompt is as follows:

Choose an object that has a lot of sentimental value to you and an object you bought in the last week (or most recently). Write a letter from the sentimental object to the object you just bought explaining who you are and how to take care of you. (Optional: leave a few lines at the end for the object you just bought to respond).

Again, feel free to share whatever you write in response to the prompt in the comments below this post (you can use an anonymous name if you’d prefer, and your email address won’t be public). We look forward to seeing your work!

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Jesse Parent is an award-winning slam poet who was the runner up at the 2010 and 2011 Individual World Poetry Slams, a finalist in the 2012 Ontario International Poetry Slam and 2014 Ill List Poetry Slam Invitational, and a semifinalist at the 2011 and 2012 National Poetry Slams. He is also a touring improv comedian, a veteran of over 40 improv festivals, and was named an Artistic Associate of the prestigious Chicago Improv Festival in 2006. His work has been featured on the Huffington Post, UpWorthy.com, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com, and the television show Lexus Verses and Flow on the TV One network. You can find out more about Jesse at his web site, JesseParent.com.

Best of Button Week 74


“My body is selfish. It knows only how to take and never gives.”

Don’t miss this week’s Best of Button playlist, featuring the top-viewed recent videos on the Button YouTube Channel. Today’s additions: Kate Hao and iCon. Congratulations poets!
While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including books by Aziza Barnes, Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn and our JUST-RELEASED book from Hanif Abdurraqib!

Button Round-Up 10

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It’s the weekend, so you know what that means. The Button Round-Up is back with another exciting installment! Dive with us into the magical world of the poetry-related internet.

Buzzwords Poetry Competition 2016
This one’s for our fans across the pond! Our own Chapbook Contest is now in full swing (and open to international submitters!), but the Buzzwords Poetry Competition can be a great way to submit your poems if you don’t have a full manuscript and are living in the UK. Submissions close on August 7th.

Poet Activist Spotlight: Jacqui Germain
One of Button’s newest authors, Jacqui Germain, recently did a wonderful interview with Stevie Edwards from Ploughshares at Emerson College. Jacqui speaks about her own poetic influences and her work as a community organizer and activist. Don’t forget to check out Jacqui’s book, When the Ghosts Come Ashore, after you read this interview!

“Why Poetry is the Best Medium for Kids Who Want to Change the World” by Ketherine Brooks
Last week was the 19th annual Brave New Voices festival, featuring over 500 kids from 55 cities participating in the poetry slam tournament. Featuring Button author Danez Smith, this article goes on to affirm the positive benefits of youth slams and young kids expressing themselves through spoken word poetry.

Verbalise
If you are a young poet still trying to figure out your way into spoken word, then Verbalise is just for you! Starting next week in Birmingham, Verbalise is a four-week program offering classes and one-on-one mentoring that can give you the tools to launch your own career in spoken word poetry. It’s not too late to sign up!

“On Continuing the Work of Who Carried Us Here” by Hanif Abdurraqib
Celebrating the release of his debut book The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, Button author Hanif Abdurraqib is back in this week’s Round-Up with another essay. Unlike the past two weeks, with his regular music features, Hanif is reflecting on the release of his book, and how to be thankful to and honor those who have made it possible to get where he is today. Writing more a love letter than an essay, Hanif is back with his usual brilliance.

“for lee buencamino” by Mae Verano
To close out this week’s Round-Up, here is a short but sweet poem by Mae Verano. A member of the Brown 2016 CUPSI team, Mae Verano’s “for lee buencamino” is haunting in it’s brevity. “how lucky am i to speak your words / savor that same story / and still stand here / existing.” How lucky we all are to have this piece this weekend.

That’s all for this week, folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here, and read something that will make some kind of impact, no matter how small, on your week moving forward. See you next Saturday!

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Spencer Brownstein is a poet, student, and Button staffer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves beanies, dogs, and a nice cigarette after dinner.

Bianca Phipps – “The Heartbreaker Poem” (250K Views!)

“Your father teaches you how to be the first one to walk away. Leave, before they realize you were not worth staying for.”

Congratulations to Bianca Phipps on topping 100,000 views on this stunning poem! Check out more great poems from Bianca here, here and here.
And while you’re here, make sure to check out our books and merch as well, including our awesome t-shirts and poster and new books by Jacqui Germain and Hanif Abdurraqib!

Button Poetry Update 7/21/2016

Button Poetry Update 7/21/2016
Hey Button fans!
We’re here to give you an update on some of the exciting stuff that’s been happening in the last few months at Button, as well as what you can look forward to in the near future.

First of all, we’re thrilled to announce that alongside this year’s 5th Annual Button Poetry / Exploding Pinecone Chapbook Contest, we’re launching the first ever Button Poetry video contest, where anyone can submit their own video for a chance to be run by Button! Over the last year, we’ve increasingly realized the limited nature of our film work: we can only really film poets in specific physical spaces where we’re present each year. We intend for this to be the first of many opportunities for people around the world to get on the ever-larger digital stage for poetry. Both contests are now open for submission; you can check out all the details here.
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Button Poetry Live has been running strong, packing out CAMP Bar in Saint Paul every single month (we had to turn away over 50 people at our last show, so if you’re in the Twin Cities, get your tickets EARLY for the July 29th team send-off show). We’re so thankful to all the supporters who helped fund our Kickstarter Campaign last year to get the matching grant from Knight Foundation. In addition to the amazing poems we’ve been filming and running on the Button channel, we’ve also been livestreaming the show to thousands of viewers each month. Keep an eye out on our social media (or sign up for our mailing list) to stay up to date on the next one!

Speaking of Button Poetry Live, we’ve been churning out new audio albums over at the Button Poetry Bandcamp! Our “Best of Button” series highlights the top poems from YouTube each month, while the “Button Poetry Live” series offers exclusive tracks and live material available only on the album. Check it all out here, and subscribe to get our full back catalog and all new releases, as well as exclusive subscriber-only content.

Finally, in June and July we’re celebrating two major book releases, with Jacqui Germain’s chapbook When the Ghosts Come Ashore released June 7th, and Hanif Willis Abdurraqib’s full-length debut, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, released earlier this week. Hanif’s book has already reached the #2 spot on the Small Press Distribution bestsellers list (you can find some other familiar titles there as well!) and #1 in new literature on Amazon!
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That’s all for now. We hope you’re enjoying your summer, and we can’t wait to share some more big news with you all soon.
-The Button Team

Best of Button Week 73


“America is the loneliest angry song I’ve ever heard.”

Don’t miss this week’s Best of Button playlist, featuring the top-viewed recent videos on the Button YouTube Channel. Today’s additions: Taylor Steele and Casandra Faith. Congratulations poets!
While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including books by Aziza Barnes, Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn and our JUST-RELEASED book from Hanif Abdurraqib!

Button Round-Up 9

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Hello, hello, hello! Welcome back to Button’s Round-Up, your friendly collection of poems, essays, and more from around the web. Dive on in, I’m sure you’ll read something here that will pique your interest this weekend!

A Reading List for America by Maira Liriano
This week, in response to the current racial tension in America, the New York Public Library has released a reading list to help foster literacy of the Black American experience. The body of works is diverse; hopefully you can find time to read them all!

“& O, bright star of disaster, I have been lit.” by Franny Choi
Often seen on the Button YouTube channel and always a brilliant poet, Franny Choi had a poem featured in The Paris-American this week. After, Lo Kwa Mei-En, Franny’s piece is a representation of struggle to find oneself, to truly exist as an individual and not as a sponge or a marionette.

“Principles” by Danez Smith
Danez Smith is back in the Round-Up this week. Much like last week, Danez has gifted us with poetry that desperately needs to be read. There is a reason why Danez’s poetry is so poignant these days; hopefully, we can all learn something after reading his words.

“Speaking Into the World” by Eve Ewing
In this essay, Chicago-born poet Eve Ewing questions stigma about the legitimacy of slam poetry. Why categorize a poem as either a page poem or a slam poem? Is there a stigma against the act of performance? Read the essay and find out!

“The Glorious, Impossible Escape of Nelly and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra” by Hanif Abdurraqib
Hanif Abdurraqib is back this week with another beautiful essay. Once again, Hanif writes about the ways art can be used as a conduit for healing and hope in these trying times. This essay is a praise of the arts, specifically “art as spectacle, grand and risky enough to let me leave the sadness behind for two small hours.” Hanif’s debut book is officially released in two days; get your copy now!

“Jamila Woods Searches for ‘Heavn’ on Debut Album” by Brian Josephs
Poet, writer, and activist Jamila Woods recently released her first album, Heavn, featuring fellow Chicago based musicians like Chance the Rapper, Saba, and Donnie Trumpet. This article not only has an eloquent review by Brian Josephs, but also has the entire album on SoundCloud embedded right onto the page. Give it a listen and see if you agree with Josephs’ review.

And with that, we close out another week of poetry and poetry-adjacent wonders from across the internet. Check back with us next Saturday for a new, exciting installment!

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Spencer Brownstein is a poet, student, and Button staffer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves beanies, dogs, and a nice cigarette after dinner.