Jared Paul – “When I Say That I Came Up Poor” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“When I say that I came up poor, I mean, what some folks derisively call hood is what somebody else calls home. A held space, with its own customs and communion.”

Don’t miss this magnificent poem from Jared Paul, 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!

William Evans – “It’s Tuesday and We Didn’t See Any New Shootings of Black People by Police…”


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“Maybe, my wife and I might actually get some alone time tonight, and by alone time, I mean neither of us will be too exhausted to do what gave us a daughter in the first place.”

Don’t miss this phenomenal poem from William Evans, featuring at Button Poetry Live.

Check out William’s book, STILL CAN’T DO MY DAUGHTER’S HAIR, 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!

In-Depth Look: Suzi Q Smith – “Bones”

In-Depth Look: Suzi Q Smith – “Bones”

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.

“Bridges can be cages too; let them all burn.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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Because my biggest poem is a “number poem,” people often ask about that approach with regards to their own writing. In that question, though, there’s often a hint of suspicion, as if poems built around numbered sections represent some kind of poetic cheat code, an easy way to sound deep without really justifying the structural conceit. And sure, that happens.

This poem, however, is a great example of how a number poem can work, and work beautifully. At its core, a number poem is a way to fragment an idea; to use a visual metaphor, I think of number poems as less photorealistic and more impressionistic. Rather than offer some big, authoritative thesis statement about a topic, you can build an idea out of smaller pieces; the substance of the poem is contained both in those pieces and in how those pieces relate to one another.

In this poem, the separation of the main idea into smaller sections allows Smith to deploy a whirlwind of concrete images– the fire, the tampons, the stitches, the gallbladder, the hurricane, the bones. Because the poem is already fragmented, those images get to stand on their own as they appear. That fragmentation also allows different sections to provide context for one another. For example: …when I was reminded to be humble, when I was taught to be polite, when I was raised to be a Christian, all forgiveness and long suffering, when I was beaten into being a good girl… connects the deeply personal to larger ideas about society and culture, expanding the “work” of the poem in a powerful way.

Find more from Suzi Q. Smith 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!

Yesha Townsend – “Sun Salutations in the Sargasso”


Performing at Intermedia Arts.

“Your love backbends into the ocean, inhales salt and sargassum, sea breams and shark oil.”

Don’t miss this wonderful poem from Yesha Townsend, performing at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.



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!

Kristen Jewel – “The Ballad of the Bad Boy” (Button Live)


Performing at Button Poetry Live.

“I’d rather be loved the right way for one day, than the wrong ways for the rest of my days.”

Don’t miss this fantastic poem from Kristen Jewel, 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!

Dave Harris – “In Casual Conversation, the Hood in Me Slips Out and Says”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“You did not know shame until they taught it to you.”

Don’t miss this fantastic poem from Dave Harris, 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!

Ashia Ajani – “La Llorona”


Performing at the 2017 Rustbelt Poetry Festival.

“We women who sacrifice our dutiful Brown hands to community, who sacrifice our bodies for motherhood, the grieving continues and continues, and this Western myth dooms us to be tragic, weeping, locas for all eternity.”

Don’t miss this amazing poem from Ashia Ajani, 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!

Donte Collins – “Long Story Short”


Featuring at Honey in Minneapolis

“someone who is dead now taught you how best to clean up your blood. then how to clean up blood when it is not your own.”

Don’t miss this marvelous poem from Donte Collins, featuring at his book release show at Honey in Minneapolis.

Get your hands on a copy of Donte’s incredible book, AUTOPSY, now available!



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: Bianca Phipps – “When the Boy Says He Loves My Body”

In-Depth Look: Bianca Phipps – “When the Boy Says He Loves My Body”

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 find my body is a locked door. I find I locked myself out.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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This whole series is built around the idea of “sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times” in order to come to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for that poem. That process, however, is so much bigger than poetry. The basic idea of thinking more critically about our language, our actions, our culture– everything– is valuable whether or not you have any interest in writing and performing poems.

This piece captures some of why that is. The entire poem is built around a “catalyst moment:” there is an action (when the boy says he loves my body, but does not say he loves me), and a reaction. That reaction is full of imagery, metaphor, and a deeper analysis of the catalyst, even if nothing really “happens” on a literal level– the poem is a meditation, an opportunity to cultivate within ourselves a fuller understanding of that line that kicks everything off.

Some of my favorite poems are built like this– give us a scenario that does not at all seem special, and then illuminate why it is special. Give us a “simple” image, and then show us its complexity. In this poem’s case, give us a “throwaway” bit of dialogue (as something like this catalyst statement could potentially be interpreted, at least by its speaker), and then explore its layers, its nuance, its impact.

For more from Bianca Phipps: Facebook | Twitter

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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!

Guante – “Thoughts & Prayers”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis

“When we win, it will not be because we have convinced our enemies to love us. It will be because we have beaten them.”

Don’t miss this powerful poem from Guante, featuring at his book release show at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

Get your hands on a copy of Guante’s incredible book, A LOVE SONG, A DEATH RATTLE, A BATTLE CRY, now available!



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!