Javon Johnson – “When The Cancer Comes” (100K Views!)

“At this rate, we will have to lower our dead into ground they could not afford to live in.”

Congratulations to Javon Johnson on topping 100,000 views on this moving poem! Watch more videos from Javon here and here.



While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, including books by Sabrina Benaim, Neil Hilborn, Andrea Gibson, Blythe Baird, Desireé Dallagiacomo, Dave Harris, & our newest release from Michael Lee!

Javon Johnson – “Baby Brother” (100K Views!)

“We teach boys that in order to become men they have to kill off their emotional selves.”

Congratulations to Javon Johnson for topping 100,000 views on this powerful poem! Watch more videos from Javon here and here!



While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, including books by Sabrina Benaim, Neil Hilborn, Phil Kaye, Andrea Gibson, Blythe Baird, & our newest release from Desireé Dallagiacomo!

Javon Johnson – “Pretzeled Bodies” (Button Live)


Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“I never thanked you for being my lighthouse.”

Don’t miss this wonderful poem from Javon Johnson, 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, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, Guante, & our newest release from Rachel Wiley!

In-Depth Look: Javon Johnson – “Baby Brother”

In-Depth Look: Javon Johnson – “Baby Brother””

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.

“My masculinity is a well-hung portrait in a hallway of a crumbling house.”
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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

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One of the most powerful things that poets do is attempt to view issues through the lens of relationships. As many of us are already aware, if we want to persuade an audience that our point-of-view about a particular issue is worthwhile, just rattling off the linear, logical arguments probably isn’t going to work (especially today). But if we can translate our argument into a story, particularly a story that orbits around personal relationships and the emotions that drive them, people might actually listen.

The first two-thirds of this poem only hint at its eventual thesis statement; through the exploration of a real, grounded, human relationship, Johnson provides context, brings the audience in, and sets the stage for the “here’s what I’m really talking about” section of the poem. And when that section comes, when Johnson really dives into how children are socialized to think about masculinity and the damage that that does, it’s all the more powerful for not just appearing from the void– we already care about the people touched by it.

For people interested in this topic, two links: One is a short poem by Nayyirah Waheed, and the other is a longer talk from Tony Porter, co-founder of A Call to Men. Also, be sure to check out more of Javon Johnson’s work 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, and our newest release from Melissa Lozada-Oliva.

Javon Johnson – “cuz he’s black” (2M Views!)


“Black boys in this country cannot afford to play cops and robbers if we’re always considered the latter. Don’t have the luxury of playing war if we’re already in one.”

Congratulations to Javon on topping 2 MILLION views on this tremendous poem. Watch more from Javon here and here.
Want to have your video featured on Button Poetry? Video submissions are open NOW, August 1st – September 15th!



And while you’re here, make sure to check out our other books and merch as well, including our awesome t-shirts and poster and books by Jacqui Germain, Hanif Abdurraqib, Olivia Gatwood, Donte Collins, and our newest release from Sabrina Benaim!

Javon Johnson – “Last Conversation Between Malcolm X and His Daughter” (100K Views!)

“It is your job to show them how they murdered a human being.”

Congratulations to Javon on topping 100,000 views on this magnificent poem. Watch more from Javon here and here.



And while you’re here, make sure to check out our other books and merch as well, including our awesome t-shirts and poster and books by Jacqui Germain, Hanif Abdurraqib, Olivia Gatwood, and Aaron Coleman!

Javon Johnson – “A Letter to My Unborn Daughter” (500K Views!)

“Someday you will learn that I reserve the sweetest parts of myself just for you.”

Congratulations to Javon on topping 500,000 views on this spectacular poem. Check out more from Javon here and here.



And while you’re here, make sure to check out our other books and merch as well, including our awesome t-shirts and poster and new books by Jacqui Germain, Hanif Abdurraqib, Olivia Gatwood, and Aaron Coleman!

Javon Johnson – “Debt” (Button Live)

Performing at Button Poetry Live.

“When tuition is steadily rising and starting salaries are dropping, degrees become no different than a designer bag: a cheap fashion statement not even worth a trip to the mall.”

Don’t miss this great new poem from Javon Johnson, performing at Button Poetry Live, November 2016. If you’re in the Twin Cities, don’t miss the next Button Poetry Live show, first Monday of every month in downtown Saint Paul.

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, Hanif Abdurraqib, Jacqui Germain, Sam Sax & more.

Javon Johnson – “Black and Happy” (Button Live)

Featuring at Button Poetry Live.

“You cannot kill blackness.
Too much of it is wrapped in an unshakable joy.
And ain’t that why they think we magic in the first place?”

Don’t miss this stunning poem from Javon Johnson, featuring at Button Poetry Live, November 2016. If you’re in the Twin Cities, don’t miss the next Button Poetry Live show, first Monday of every month in downtown Saint Paul.

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out 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.

Javon Johnson – “When the Cancer Comes” (Button Live)


Performing at Button Poetry Live
“At this rate, we will have to lower our dead into ground
they could not afford to live in.”
Don’t miss this amazing poem from Javon Johnson, performing at Button Poetry Live, July 2016. If you’re in the Twin Cities, don’t miss the live show, every first Monday at 8:00 PM in downtown Saint Paul.
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.