Rachel Wiley – “When We Were Kings” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“My niece is 8 and skipping pizza day because all of a sudden worried if she’s thin enough to be a queen or pretty enough to be someone’s trophy.”

Don’t miss this impeccable poem from Rachel Wiley, featuring at Button Poetry Live.

Check out Rachel’s newest book, NOTHING IS OKAY, now available!



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

Raych Jackson – “Seven Thoughts on Job and Depression”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“‘God makes no mistakes’ is the string that keeps us tied to him.”

Don’t miss this marvelous poem from Raych Jackson, 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, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Guante, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

In-Depth Look: Isha Camara – “Loudest Burial”

In-Depth Look: Isha Camara – “Loudest Burial”

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.

“Eye for an eye? More like tooth for whole skull.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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The stereotype about spoken word is that it’s all “big,” capital-P Political Poems, and there is some truth in that. When the stage is one of the only public forums we have to discuss the things that we care about, it’s only natural that it becomes a platform for work that engages with the world. That stereotype, however, often seems to be framed negatively, as though “political poems” were inherently hollow, just “ranting and raving” without any craft or heart.

This poem is a great counterpoint to that, showing how a poem can be both explicitly political and very much grounded, concrete, and human. From “the hands of your loved ones,” to a mother’s voice, to a clear-eyed view of Obama’s legacy, this isn’t a poem about “those people over there,” a stumble that some attempts at political poetry make; the poem finds a way to comment on world events through the lens of personal experience.

In “Why Authoritarians Attack the Arts,” scholar and poet Eve Ewing writes: “Art creates pathways for subversion, for political understanding and solidarity among coalition builders. Art teaches us that lives other than our own have value.” I’m hearing this poem in that context; the work that this poem is doing is important, and is work that we (especially those of us who are poets) can and should contribute to as well.

Hear another one of Isha Camara’s poems here!

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

Melissa Lozada-Oliva – “Lip/Stain/Must/Ache”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“It doesn’t matter if I can remember the passage correctly, because I remember the way it made me feel.”

Don’t miss this fantastic poem from Melissa Lozada-Oliva, featuring at her book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

Get your copy of Melissa’s stellar book, PELUDA, now available!



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

Omar Holmon – “Jesus Christ Super Toaster” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“I told my ex that I didn’t pray. I believe in God, but it’s just something that I didn’t do. After this discovery, she said she didn’t know if she could date me anymore.”

Don’t miss this hilarious poem from Omar Holmon, featuring at Button Poetry Live.



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

T. Miller – “An Open Letter to Raven Symoné” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“If you tear the part that says ‘peanut’ off of a peanut butter jar, that does not make it butter. That does not make it any less brown, any more yellow.”

Don’t miss this magnificent poem from T. Miller, featuring at Button Poetry Live.



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

Hasani Harris – “Brag” (Button Live)


Performing at Button Poetry Live.

“Everybody wants to grow up and be somebody in the limelight, yet there are so many of us that die without even a gravestone to keep us comfortable.”

Don’t miss this extraordinary poem from Hasani Harris, performing at Button Poetry Live.



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

Sabrina Benaim – “What I Told the Doctor, the Second Time” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“Everything is in slow motion again.”

Don’t miss this beautiful poem from Sabrina Benaim, featuring at Button Poetry Live.

Get your copy of Sabrina’s debut book, DEPRESSION & OTHER MAGIC TRICKS, Goodreads finalist for Best Poetry Books of 2017.



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

In-Depth Look: Hieu Minh Nguyen – “The Translation of Grief”

In-Depth Look: Hieu Minh Nguyen – “The Translation of Grief”

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.

“I throw a fistful of sand in the air and pretend to weep.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
———

I started writing down lines from this poem that could be used as a jumping-off point to begin to explore its central idea, but I ended up writing down just about the entire poem. And maybe that’s the lesson for aspiring poets– know what work the poem is trying to do, and make sure every line– every word– contributes in a meaningful way to that work.

A room has four walls (if that); it doesn’t need five or six or seven. That can take a lifetime to figure out, if it can be “figured out” at all, but this poem from Hieu Minh Nguyen is a brilliant example of what that kind of efficiency can look like. Note how every line is a complete thought, but how every thought also functions as a transition to the next thought. Take a closer look at the third quarter (or so) of the poem:

I anticipate this grief by exhausting it with music. I open the casket; I make her dance in the center. It is the habit of the artist to see a hole and fill it with imagination. It is the habit of the living to see everyone you love and imagine them dead. I can lick the dirt off of all of your faces. I can sing any dirge, in any key, but the translation of grief will always be flat. There will always be the contrasting light between what is expected, and what would change your bones.

The sound, the light, the taste, the movement in these lines– the sensory/concrete language is so full without being overwhelming. Each one of those lines could work on their own, as a shareable Instagram quote, or as a tattoo. But together, they flow elegantly into one another, a series of images building momentum and intensity, leading up to the poem’s final image of the single black strand of hair.

That’s all shop talk, poetry stuff. But this poem also pushes boundaries with regards to substance, exploring something profound, unsettling, and important about grief, about mortality, and about translation– both in terms of the “translating her life into English” line, and the deeper process of how we translate other people’s lives/deaths into our own grief– selfishly, imperfectly, inescapably.

Find more from Hieu Minh Nguyen (including info on his NEW book) here!

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

Toaster – “Tall People Privilege” (Button Live)


Performing at Button Poetry Live.

“It’s scientifically proven that tall people are more attractive or some shit.”

Don’t miss this phenomenal poem from Toaster, performing at Button Poetry Live.



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