T. Miller – “A Poem to Marcus” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.
“You made me believe that we couldn’t cry to each other, even when we were in pain.”

Don’t miss this breathtaking 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, Mahogany L. Browne, Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Rudy Francisco, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!

Bernard Ferguson – “Flareup” (Button Live)


Performing at Button Poetry Live.
“Sick or not, your skin has always been on fire.”

Don’t miss this spectacular poem from Bernard Ferguson, 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, Mahogany L. Browne, Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Rudy Francisco, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!

Keith S. Wilson – “Asterism” (Motionpoems)


A poetry film by Motionpoems

“Your voice is not a feather I can hold, but a thought I draw across my throat when I close my eyes.”

Don’t miss this astonishing poem from Keith S. Wilson, filmed by Motionpoems.



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, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!

In-Depth Look: Talia Young – “While My Love Sleeps I Cook Dinner”

In-Depth Look: Talia Young – “While My Love Sleeps I Cook Dinner”

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 call her love, as if she herself is love: something glowing and untouchable…”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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Note how this poem explores the big, universal idea/trope/archetype of the long distance relationship through some stunningly specific imagery. For example, we could do a deep dive into just this passage:

“I tell my friends: I’m moving to a new country, because I have already left Minneapolis entirely. What exists between us? A piano string. A cord strung between two cups. All the veins in my body pulled taut.”

That sequence of three images works so well because each one is concrete– something that isn’t just an idea or a concept, but that you can visualize, or imagine holding in your hand. But there’s another layer to the sequence: each concrete image also belongs to the same family of images: they’re all string-like structures that enable some form of communication. It’s one thing to think of some cool images; it’s something else to have those images be consistent and supportive of one another.

Finally, there’s the additional effect of the last of the three images being something fantastical– it’s still easy to visualize, but it’s also bizarre (in a good way) and evocative. That rhythm– example, example, fantastical example– powerfully reinforces what the line, and the poem as a whole, is trying to say about the relationship between love, distance, and technology.

The poem also includes lines like “Our love in the shaky hands of the wifi” and the climactic: “I imagine a room in which every text is preserved in its own carved wooden box; I imagine all of this is physical, somewhere.” Both of these lines say something profound not just about long distance relationships in a general sense, but about how those relationships work right now, in this historical moment. That impulse– to document the specificity of the actual experience rather than attempt to capture some storybook archetype of what we think that experience “should” look like– serves this poem so well.

Find more from Talia Young here and here.

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While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including Guante’s own book, as well as titles by Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!

Brittany Rogers – “On Not Raising a Mama’s Boy”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“The last thing this world needs is another boy with unchecked eyes.”

Don’t miss this impeccable poem from Brittany Rogers, 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 Neil Hilborn, Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!

Guante – “The Family Business”

Performing at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“I think the reason pawns can’t move backwards is because if they could, they’d kill their own kings in a heartbeat.”

Don’t miss this brilliant poem by Guante, performing at Sabrina Benaim‘s book release at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

Congratulations on the release of your book, Guante! A LOVE SONG, A DEATH RATTLE, A BATTLE CRY, is now available!

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out all our books and merch, including books by Neil Hilborn, Danez Smith, Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, & our newest releases from Stevie Edwards and Claire Schwartz!

Rachel Wiley – “Belly Kisses”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“I love my body more days than I don’t.”

Don’t miss this beautiful poem from Rachel Wiley, performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s forthcoming book, NOTHING IS OKAY, dropping March 2018!



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, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, & our newest releases from Stevie Edwards and Claire Schwartz!

Sam Sax – “Ideation”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“Maybe this life is just a train caught between stations, and our friends are the people we are lucky enough to ride with.”

Don’t miss this breathtaking poem from Sam Sax, performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

Check out Sam’s amazing book, A GUIDE TO UNDRESSING YOUR MONSTERS, 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, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, & our newest releases from Stevie Edwards and Claire Schwartz!

In-Depth Look: Billy Tuggle – “Marvin’s Last Verses”

In-Depth Look: Billy Tuggle – “Marvin’s Last Verses”

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 could sing with this last breath.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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I’m struck by the structure of this piece– it feels like it all takes place in a single moment, the “life flashing before your eyes” experience. Because of that, every line becomes vital– every memory, or regret, or passing thought has to both stand on its own as a human experience and be a metaphor for something that experience alone maybe doesn’t quite capture.

For example, connecting a mother’s scream, to screaming fans, to lovers– these are three moments, but they also highlight that balance between pleasure and pain that drives so much art. From talking about Berry Gordy’s Motown “assembly line,” to Gaye’s father’s jealousy, to Gaye’s own fears and struggles– this poem unearths the tragedy behind the art that is so life-giving to so many. And that tragedy isn’t held up as a good or generative thing (which is a trap I think a lot of artists fall into); it’s simply held up as something we all need to face.

Find more from Billy Tuggle (who, incidentally, was always one of the kindest, most supportive members of the larger spoken word community when I was coming up, and to whom I am very grateful) here.

Finally, this poem is dedicated to David Blair, one of those poets I wish every up-and-coming or aspiring spoken word artist knew about. Blair’s work was transcendent– a word I think a lot of us use for a lot of poetry, but one that truly fits in this case. If that’s a new name for you, a few links:
– Video: “Detroit (While I Was Away)” by David Blair
– Video: “My Time at Chrysler” by David Blair
– Video: “Freedom Calling” by Blair and The Boyfriends
Blair’s obituary in Solidarity
An interview in the Detroit Metro Times, featuring this quote:
“The authentic self is a way more subversive creature than we care to put out there most of the time, and that’s fine. But you really got to face yourself and not be afraid to tell your story, ’cause somebody may need to hear it.”

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While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including Guante’s own book, as well as titles by Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, and our newest releases from Claire Schwartz and Stevie Edwards!

Peace Bell – “Things They Never Tell You About the Mother of 13 Children (after Siaara Freeman)”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“I fear disappointing my father and proving him right.”

Don’t miss this impressive poem from Peace Bell, 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 Neil Hilborn, Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, & our newest releases from Stevie Edwards and Claire Schwartz!