Paul Tran – “He/She”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“I’m not here to make you comfortable, I’m here to free myself.”

Don’t miss this phenomenal poem from Paul Tran, 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!

In-Depth Look: William Evans – “Bathroom Etiquette”

In-Depth Look: William Evans – “Bathroom Etiquette”

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 know the song even if my pitch needs work.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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Aspiring poets ask about writer’s block a lot. They tend to also ask questions like “where do you get your inspiration?” a lot. Of course, these are good and natural questions, but I also remember when I was just getting started, asking the same questions; I remember asking them less out of curiosity and more out of fear– the fear that every poem has to be some monumental, earth-moving feat, the fear that if I’m not constantly producing I’ll fall behind (whatever that means), the fear that I don’t have anything to add to the larger conversation.

My favorite answer to that question is brought to life by this poem. William Evans has a gift for presenting “small,” slice-of-life moments, and then really digging into them to explore how history, and policy, and experience, and culture, and more all add up to create a moment. When you can cultivate that kind of critical lens, when you can challenge yourself to really see what’s going on inside– or behind– a scene or situation, you become able to see poems everywhere. This piece takes the most seemingly throwaway social interaction (two coworkers joking about an email memo about urinal splashguards) and excavates something profound about history, bodies, memory, lineage, and even white supremacy.

Note the subtle emphasis placed on the “my” in “But my grandfather…” at 1:26. The whole poem turns on that point. The whole “seemingly throwaway situation” turns into something else. When people ask me about writer’s block today, that’s my answer: it isn’t always about trying to access some brilliant truth outside of yourself; it’s about taking the time to find the “something else” in a scene, moment, or memory to which you already have access.

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 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!

Pages Matam – “Black Lives Tigers and Bears”

Performing at Southern Fried 2016.

“The church still gives purpose to all of the ghosts, because even with our hands up, don’t we still look like we are praising?”

Don’t miss this magnificent poem by Pages Matam, performing at the 2016 Southern Fried Poetry Slam in Greensboro, NC.

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!

Portia Bartley – “When Blackness Becomes A Hand Me Down Shirt”

2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

“It seems some clothes will always be in style, even when they are soaked in blood.”

Don’t miss this amazing poem by Portia Bartley, featured contestant in the 2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

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!

Nadav Heyman – “Helena”

2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

“Being a human is much more than running fast, like being a feather is much more than being discovered.”

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

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!

Emi Mahmoud – “Eulogy” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.
“I had a dream last night: they strung me up like a song, but this time the noose said no.”

Don’t miss this magnificent poem from Emi Mahmoud, 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, & our newest releases from Stevie Edwards and Claire Schwartz!

Donte Collins – “Still Life with Birth Certificate”

Performing at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“You have breath where you should have nothing.”

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

Check out Donte’s amazing book, AUTOPSY, named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017!

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!

Paige Polk – “Redemption”

2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

“I am the universe with its arms outstretched: chaotic, impossible to end, but somehow, still, I am so beautiful.”

Don’t miss this incredible poem by Paige Polk, featured contestant in the 2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

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!

Melissa Lozada-Oliva – “Ode to Brown Girls With Bangs”


Performing at her book release in Minneapolis.

“you are meticulous because everyone is watching. you are afraid because it is the only way you know how to love.”

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

Make sure to check out Melissa’s new 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, Jacqui Germain, Aaron Coleman, Donte Collins, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, and our newest releases from Claire Schwartz and Stevie Edwards!

Hanif Abdurraqib – “And What Good Will Your Vanity Be When The Rapture Comes”

Performing at his book release in Los Angeles.

“Now I write beautiful things like I will never touch a beautiful thing again.”

Don’t miss this remarkable poem from Hanif Abdurraqib, performing at his book release at Art Share LA, in Los Angeles. Check out Hanif’s incredible debut book, “The Crown Ain’t Worth Much”.

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, Jacqui Germain, Sam Sax, Olivia Gatwood, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, and our newest releases from Claire Schwartz and Stevie Edwards!