Best of Button Week 86

“The blood learns to bend another way
like the legs of a crane.”

Don’t miss this week’s Best of Button playlist, featuring the top-viewed recent videos on the Button YouTube Channel. Today’s additions: Aziza Barnes, Melissa Lozada-Oliva & Nia Lewis!
While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including books by Aziza Barnes, Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn and our NEW book from Hanif Abdurraqib!

Aziza Barnes – “I Could Ask, but I Think They Use Tweezers”

Performing at AWP 2016

“Blood stops moving to the big towns. The brain is a big town.
The heart is a big town.”

Don’t miss this incredible poem from Aziza Barnes, performing at the Button Poetry / YesYes Books showcase at AWP 2016. Check out Aziza’s book here.

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out all our books and merch, including Button t-shirts in both female and unisex cuts, and books and more by many of your favorite Button artists.

Link Round-Up 7

Button semicolon logo Transparent (2)

July is here! It’s a new month and poetry is still awesome. I know, big shock, right? With (hopefully) a long weekend to spend, here are some wonderful links for you to meander through.

SF Bart and LA Metro Got Into a Haiku Battle on Twitter – Poetry really is everywhere. In a brutal twitter fight, the transit systems for San Francisco and Los Angeles went at each other. It got pretty intense; LA even went after the still-fresh wounds of the NBA championship.

Two Micros by Ashlee Haze –In more bite-sized poetry news, here are two micros from Ashlee, Button YouTube favorite who was recently featured on the first track of Blood Orange’s new album, Freetown Sound. Here she uses the short form to clearly and sharply attack racism and sexism.

i be, but i ain’t review by Corrina Bain –Aziza Barnes, the original winner of the Exploding Pinecone chapbook prize here at Button, recently released her first full-length collection with YesYes books. The good folks at Muzzle wrote a wonderful review. If you’re the type of person who likes video tours and Google street views, this is the perfect review; Corrina guides you through the book, without giving away everything.

“A Decade After Prison, a Poet Studies for the Bar Exam” by Elisa Gonzalez – This profile of poet Reginald Dwayne Betts not only talks about his experience tying law into poetry as both a lawyer and a former prisoner, it talks about the ways in which society wants to consume black men’s experiences, but only certain narratives. I know I want to buy his books now, and I think you will too.

Commonplace Episode 2 ft. Nick Flynn – There’s something special about getting to hear a poet not just read their work, but talk about it. I find podcasts add a level of intimacy to an interview, or maybe just humanity. Nick Flynn is one of my favorite poets, and it was a joy to hear him talk about his latest poetry collection, My Feelings, which will be reviewed on our own website this month.

“Pearl & Ash” by Diana Keren Lee – For a lazy Sunday, a gorgeous, lilting poem that feels like a beautiful room in the summer. This is the first poem by Diana Keren Lee that I’ve read, but it definitely won’t be my last.

Thanks for stopping by to spend a little time with us, and thank you to the brilliant folks out there trying to make sense, if not of violence, of what it takes to survive it. Take care of yourselves, drink water, and come back next week for more poetry updates.

Button semicolon logo Transparent (2)

Anna Binkovitz is a poet and Button staffer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She loves pizza, red wine, and honest writing with a lyrical twist.

Link Round-Up 2

Button semicolon logo Transparent (2)

Holy wow, it’s been another great week in poetry! Take a look at some of the newest poems, essays, and lists floating around the internet:

Literary Juneteenth (or Why I Left the Offing) – This piece technically came out last week, but it is too important and too well-written to not feature. Casey Rocheteau explores some of the racial inequities and specific instances of ignorance that led her to leave the Offing. Intention can only take you so far, especially as an editor working for a magazine that seeks to uplift and empower marginalized voices.

“It Doesn’t Feel Like a Time to Write” – Button author Danez Smith, back at it again with the evocative, urgent poems. He presents readers with an honest portrait of exhaustion, of how a continual state of mourning and fear wears on black people in America. An especially important piece for those whose reaction to the murder of unarmed black people is to insist on more information, more calm reason from affected communities, more, more, more.

Three Poems by Rachel McKibbens – If you know Rachel’s work, you know she has two full-length collections and one chapbook already published (Pink Elephant, Into the Dark and Emptying Field, and Mammoth), and you are probably waiting anxiously for a third book. Here are a few poems from her third manuscript, published in Vinyl earlier this week. These poems vibrate with elegantly depicted pain, never melodramatic, but clear and tightly constructed.

Poetry Foundation Launches Poetry Incubator – Applications are open until June 1st for the first ever Poetry Incubator and Chicago Poetry Block Party. This is a three-day program meant to encourage professional development and collaboration for poets engaged with their communities. The weekend ends with a block party celebrating poetry, community, and Chicago. This is open to writers across the country, so get those applications in!

SPIT POET! 5 Poetry Collectives You Should Know – Taylor Steele, an amazing poet herself, is also writing a column highlighting emerging writers you should know about. In this piece, we get introduced to five poetry collectives, including Dark Noise and divine fabrics, two groups that include Button authors, Danez Smith and Aziza Barnes respectively. You get collective information, poems and interviews, everything you need to develop your love of these incredible talents.

DOGBYTES INTERVIEW: Camille Rankine – Author of Incorrect Merciful Impulses, (Copper Canyon Press 2016), Camille Rankine is interviewed in a new blog project from Cave Canem, an esteemed writing retreat for African-American writers. The interview covers her thoughts on the place of social justice in poetry, book recommendations, and the secret to driving in the snow.

Button semicolon logo Transparent (2)

Anna Binkovitz is a poet and Button staffer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She loves pizza, red wine, and honest writing with a lyrical twist.