Clarity Levine – “How to Endure”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“Remember that this is your job and you get paid in tips. You ain’t gonna get no tip if you tip over this motherfuckin’ table, and break this glass, and bash this racist’s face in.”

Don’t miss this incredible poem from Clarity Levine, performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.



While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, including books by Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Sabrina Benaim, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Muna Abdulahi – “Cultural Relatives” (Button Live)


Performing at Button Poetry Live.

“My family tree does not consist of blood relatives, my family tree consists of people who shed blood for each other.”

Don’t miss this remarkable poem from Muna Abdulahi, performing at Button Poetry Live.

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Hanif Abdurraqib, Donte Collins, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

In-Depth Look: Alysia Harris – “Death Poem”

In-Depth Look: Alysia Harris – “Death Poem”

Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.

“Become dust with me, my love, insignificant and everywhere.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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I always appreciate poems that take something big and universal, something that we all already “understand” on an intellectual level, and challenge us to see that something in a new way. Death, for example, is everywhere, every day, something we all have to deal with in one way or another. Because of its universality, certain tropes and motifs have sprouted up around the concept of death– the grim reaper, tombstones, caskets, skeletons, mausoleums, etc.

This poem doesn’t just repeat those tropes, but it also doesn’t completely ignore them; its imagery walks that line between what is familiar and what is new. So yes, there are skulls in the poem, but there are also “sprouts of curious grass shooting from our eye sockets.” That shift– evident in the imagery as well as the deeper issues explored in the poem– creates space for us to rethink our understanding of death. How does a conversation about death intersect with a conversation about love? What can we learn by juxtaposing the two concepts? Perhaps in doing so, we can gain a greater understanding of both, even when they’re so often held up as opposites. This poem challenges that framework in a memorable and powerful way.

Find more from Alysia Harris here.

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, including books by Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Diksha Bijlani – “Translated Disney”

2017 Button Poetry Video Contest.

“The first time I dated a white guy, I would sometimes let words from my native language slip into a text out of reflex and he’d dismiss them as typos.”

Don’t miss this brilliant poem by Diksha Bijlani, featured contestant in the 2017 Button Poetry Video Contest!

Stay tuned for more information about our 2018 Video Contest!

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, including books by Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Rudy Francisco, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Neil Hilborn – “I Don’t Need to Have a Better Day, I Need to Feel Better About This One”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“I know, I do, that I feel this way now and will not feel this way soon. I know that the aphorisms, even if I hate them, are right. This too shall pass.”

Don’t miss this beautiful poem from Neil Hilborn, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis. Make sure to grab a copy of Neil’s newest book, THE FUTURE.


Get Neil’s Book Here
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While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Sabrina Benaim, Guante, & Rachel Wiley!

Porsha Olayiwola – “Tangled aka Rapunzel aka Long-Hair-Don’t-Care-and-What” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“I wonder if I’m just a beautiful thing meant for the world to make theirs?”

Don’t miss this remarkable poem from Porsha Olayiwola, featuring at Button Poetry Live.

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Hanif Abdurraqib, Donte Collins, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Rudy Francisco – “To the Girl Who Works at Starbucks”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“I imagine, when God made you, he cussed for the first time. He turned to an angel, gave him a high five and said: ‘Goddamn, I’m good!’”

Don’t miss this wonderful poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis. Get your copy of Rudy’s book, HELIUM.


Get Rudy’s Book Here
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While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Olivia Gatwood, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Kevin Kantor – “The Academy Wishes To Nominate Kevin Kantor”

2017 Button Poetry Video Contest.

“Our love is tragic. Our bodies are tragic. Our struggle is your selling point, your box-office bait, your elevator pitch.”

Don’t miss this brilliant poem by Kevin Kantor, runner-up in the 2017 Button Poetry Video Contest!

Stay tuned for more information about our 2018 Video Contest!

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, including books by Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Rudy Francisco, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

William Evans – “Brand New” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“Maybe I was supposed to be a lumberjack or a loaded insult in someone else’s grip, something my white neighbors would think is dangerous, but too honorable to fear.”

Don’t miss this magnificent poem from William Evans, featuring at Button Poetry Live. Make sure to grab a copy of William’s book, STILL CAN’T DO MY DAUGHTER’S HAIR.


Get William’s Book Here
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While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Hanif Abdurraqib, Donte Collins, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

In-Depth Look: EJ Schoenborn – “Controversial Opinion: In Defense of Cargo Shorts”

In-Depth Look: EJ Schoenborn – “Controversial Opinion: In Defense of Cargo Shorts”

Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.

“My body and cargo shorts are both thought of as disposable.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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In a weird coincidence, I once also wrote a poem called “In Defense of Cargo Shorts.” I only ever performed it a couple of times, so I’m sure EJ hasn’t heard it. But it speaks to the power of that particular symbol, and of symbolism more generally. So much of poetry is “digging in” to a particular image, or moment, or object in order to unearth something meaningful, something that might transform how people understand an issue or idea via that symbol.

And what a symbol. Cargo shorts, culturally, carry so much baggage related to class, culture, gender, and beyond. Every now and again, there’ll be a think-piece or listicle up on fashion sites or pop culture blogs talking about how terrible cargo shorts are, and if you don’t think critically about them, it can be easy to just laugh them off. But if you do take a moment to dig a little deeper, you might unearth some powerful questions about the relationships between identity and expression, culture and consumerism.

This poem uses that symbol in such a specific and powerful way, also utilizing the structural tool of “the turn” (how a poem might start with one tone, and then shift to another to make the audience understand what came before in a new way). That last line brings in all home so unforgettably: “If the pickup lines think I’m a straight man, maybe I can walk home tonight, alive.” The line challenges the audience to rethink their assumptions about cargo shorts, sure. But in doing that, it digs so much deeper, challenging us to rethink other assumptions we might have too– about gender identity, expression, safety, and more.

Find more from EJ Schoenborn in the archives!

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, including books by Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!