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.”
Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre
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.
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!