Rob Mitchell – “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“The dollar was the difference between darkness and a deadlier thing.”

Don’t miss this sensational poem from Rob Mitchell, performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

Want to get your book published on Button? The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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 release from Rudy Francisco, & more.

Oona Hollister Stanton – “Reversed Broken Ghazal for my Girlfriend” (Get Lit)

Performing at the 2017 Get Lit Classic Slam.

“She told her mother I was her girlfriend. Her mother, fingering the delicate cross around her neck, said, ‘That’s fine, you’re young. You just can’t be in love.’”

Don’t miss this wonderful poem from Oona Hollister Stanton, performing during the finals of the 2017 Get Lit Words Ignite Classic Slam, the largest youth poetry tournament in Southern California. Order Get Lit Rising today at simonandschuster.com, and join the #LiteraryRiot at getlit.org.

Want to get your book published on Button? The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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, our newest release from Rudy Francisco & more.

Roya Marsh – “For Colored Dykes”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“I once had a man tell me he did not respect me as a woman until I opened my mouth. Funny, how I became his kind of woman when I opened my mouth.”

Don’t miss this sensational poem from Roya Marsh, performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

Want to get your book published on Button? The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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, William Evans, our newest release from Rudy Francisco, & more.

Rudy Francisco – “When People Ask How I’m Doing”


Performing at his book release in Minneapolis.

“When people ask me how I’m doing, I want to say, getting out of bed has become a magic trick. I am probably the worst magician I know.”

Don’t miss this remarkable poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

Happy Publication Day, Rudy! Check out Rudy’s debut book, HELIUM, now available!

Send us your poems! The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, and more.

In-Depth Look: Jared Singer – “Silence”

In-Depth Look: Jared Singer – “Silence”

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’ve decided that I will not speak unless I can say the complete truth. This has made it so much harder to talk about the things that are really important to me.

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

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The most common critique of slam poetry is that it’s predictable, or “tropey,” to use an increasingly useful pop culture term. We talk about the same subject matter, using the same structural and poetic elements, through the same delivery style. On one hand, I think this critique misses the mark, especially when it comes from outside the culture (see points #4 and #5 here for a few more thoughts on that), but on the other hand, it isn’t particularly difficult to see why that critique exists– we could, as a community, challenge ourselves to explore new angles on issues, push our writing into more interesting places, and strive to create work that doesn’t sound like everyone else’s.

That larger context makes this poem particularly interesting. While the “gimmick” (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) of the poem is obvious, there’s a deeper impulse at play in how the poem uses negative space. That silence isn’t just for drama’s sake; it’s embedded in the writing in a way that directly counters that charge of predictability. The “father” section, for example, could be read in multiple, conflicting ways, which captures something profound about the nature of both that specific relationship, and the larger idea of the truth as something that is messy, sometimes contradictory, and difficult to grasp. Poets are sometimes expected to be able to “illuminate the truth” in just three minutes; this poem functions as a critique of that, while simultaneously being an example of what that work might actually look like.

If you like Singer’s work, there’s much more available online.

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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 Aziza Barnes, Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and our newest release from William Evans!

In-Depth Look: William Evans – “They Love Us Here”

In-Depth Look: William Evans – “They Love Us Here”

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.

“This is what you do when you are Black and at jobs where you suffer through being the minority, you send your daughter to the better school where she will suffer through being the minority.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

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I remember first getting into writing, and thinking (not necessarily consciously, but somewhere deep down) that poetry was about saying simple, universal things in the most needlessly convoluted way possible. Of course, as I kept writing, reading, and listening, I figured out that the work that really sticks with me does the exact opposite: it uses simple, straightforward language to tackle deep, complex, multi-layered ideas. It’s probably no coincidence that William Evans was one of the first poets whose work had an impact on me.

This poem is only a minute-and-a-half long piece of storytelling. But within that, there’s so much– not just about race, but how race intersects with class, and history, and family, and fairness, and struggle, and America. It’s a furious indictment of so-called “benevolent racism,” but a poem that was just that, while still valuable, probably wouldn’t be as powerful as a poem that is equally about a father considering the future of his daughter. That personal angle both enriches and complicates the political message, creating a dynamic conversation between impulses, issues, and perspectives.

Find more from William Evans here, and get his new book 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 Aziza Barnes, Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and more!

Nia Lewis – “Can You Hear Me?” (Get Lit)

Performing at the 2017 Get Lit Classic Slam.

“I’m worried that the only picture they will show on the news is his mugshot; not the selfies we’ve taken with the double-dog Snapchat filters.”

Don’t miss this spectacular poem from Nia Lewis, performing during the finals of the 2017 Get Lit Words Ignite Classic Slam, the largest youth poetry tournament in Southern California. Order Get Lit Rising today at simonandschuster.com, and join the #LiteraryRiot at getlit.org.

Want to get your book published on Button? The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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, our newest release from William Evans & more.

Maddie Godfrey – “Kissing”

2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

“Kissing you felt like singing the lyrics to my favorite song and your mouth was singing along. So whenever I kiss someone new I will tell them they’re getting the words wrong.”

Don’t miss this beautiful poem by Maddie Godfrey, featured contestant in the 2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

Send us your poems! The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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, our newest release from William Evans & more.

Sabrina Benaim – “A Prayer / A Spell” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“I forgive myself even if I am the last person I want to forgive”

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

Check out Sabrina’s book, Depression & Other Magic Tricks, finalist for Best Poetry, 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards. Make sure to VOTE HERE!

Send us your poems! The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, our newest release from William Evans & more.

Andrea Gibson – “The Nutritionist” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“To anyone who has ever wanted to die: I have been told sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves over and over and over, other people feel this way too.”

Don’t miss this remarkable poem from Andrea Gibson, featuring at Button Poetry Live.

Send us your poems! The 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open for submissions. November 15th – January 5th, 2017-2018. Check out the full information and guidelines for the contest here!

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, our newest release from William Evans & more.