Rudy Francisco – “Love Poem Medley”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“I loved you the same way that I learned how to ride a bike. Scared, but reckless. With no training wheels or elbow pads so my scars can tell the story of how I fell for you.”

Don’t miss this impeccable poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis. Get your copy of Rudy’s book, HELIUM.


Get Rudy’s Book Here
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While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Olivia Gatwood, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Rudy Francisco – “Ouch”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“At this age, my body is a stranger that I keep meeting over and over again.”

Don’t miss this wonderful poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis. Get your copy of Rudy’s book, HELIUM.


Get Rudy’s Book Here
———

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Olivia Gatwood, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Rudy Francisco – “When the Water Is Gone”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“In California, our freeways are decorated with signs that ask us to be careful about how we use the water. They hang like an eviction notice from the environment. I wonder how long it will take the planet to tell us we can’t live here and the locks are changed.”

Don’t miss this insightful poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis. Get your copy of Rudy’s book, HELIUM.


Get Rudy’s Book Here
———

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Olivia Gatwood, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Rudy Francisco – “To the Girl Who Works at Starbucks”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“I imagine, when God made you, he cussed for the first time. He turned to an angel, gave him a high five and said: ‘Goddamn, I’m good!’”

Don’t miss this wonderful poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis. Get your copy of Rudy’s book, HELIUM.


Get Rudy’s Book Here
———

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Olivia Gatwood, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Rudy Francisco – “Looking For You”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“When they buried me, they put these coins over my eyes, and I used them as bus fare to get back to Earth, just so I can look for you.”

Don’t miss this beautiful poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis. Get your copy of Rudy’s book, HELIUM.


Get Rudy’s Book Here
———

While you’re here, head over to the Button store to check out our books and merch, Olivia Gatwood, Hanif Abdurraqib, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Guante, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

Rudy Francisco – “If I Was a Love Poet”


Featuring at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

“I loved you the same way that I learned how to ride a bike. Scared, but reckless. With no training wheels or elbow pads so my scars can tell the story of how I fell for you.”

Don’t miss this remarkable poem from Rudy Francisco, featuring at his book release party at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

Check out Rudy’s phenomenal book, HELIUM, 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!

Best of Button Week 160

“I am learning that the difference between a garden and a graveyard is only what you choose to put in the ground.”



Don’t miss this week’s Best of Button playlist, featuring the top-viewed recent videos on the Button YouTube Channel. Today’s additions: Rudy Francisco, Jared Singer, & Neil Hilborn. Congrats poets!

While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including books by Danez Smith, Olivia Gatwood, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, Guante, Rachel Wiley, & our newest release from Neil Hilborn!

In-Depth Look: Rudy Francisco – “The Heart and The Fist”

In-Depth Look: Rudy Francisco – “The Heart and The Fist”

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.

“A weapon will always be a weapon, but we choose how we fight the war.”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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This is a longer entry than usual, but there’s so much good to say about this poem.

In the spoken word and poetry slam community, I think a lot of us (especially those of us who have been part of the community for a long time) tend to get really excited about weirdness, experimentation, and pushing the boundaries of form and delivery. And that’s cool; challenging ourselves and our audiences is a healthy thing. But it’s not the only thing. As this poem demonstrates, you can still create magic within the confines of a more traditional format.

Let’s break down what I mean by “traditional format,” because the tradition that I’m referring to is relatively young. I’m thinking about poems that are around three minutes long, poems that begin with some kind of fact, anecdote, or statistic, poems that introduce an image at the beginning and then loop back around to re-contextualize that same image at the end, poems that have a clear, specific thesis statement supported by a structural arc in which every new idea relates back to that thesis, poems that start softly and then build in intensity as they move (only to end back in a softer place), poems that use personal narrative to support some larger idea– all of these techniques are present here, as they are in so many spoken word poems (including my own), yet this poem doesn’t feel stale, or “samey,” which is the common critique of so much spoken word.

It feels electric– partly because it does all of those “traditional format” things so perfectly (as though this were the platonic ideal of a slam poem) and partly because of its message, which is vital and incredibly timely. We need to be making the connections between gun violence and masculinity. This poem doesn’t just make that connection, though; it challenges us to see both why that connection exists and why it doesn’t have to. It makes a critique, and it also offers hope, all through the lens of individual experience (as opposed to finger-pointing or abstract intellectualizing).

As readers of this series may notice, we’re not just analyzing poems here; we’re exploring the tools that these these poets use that might be relevant or useful for aspiring poets. That “traditional format” discussed above could also be called a formula. And there is always danger in simply plugging into a formula– as so many of us do when we’re just getting started as poets and writers. But as this poem demonstrates, the formula itself is just a tool; what matters is what substance, perspective, heart, specificity, and meaning we take the time and effort to put into it.

Get Rudy Francisco’s new book 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!!

Best of Button Week 155

“Sooner or later you will realize that you are praying to your own shadow, that you are standing in front of mirrors and are worshipping your own reflection.”



Don’t miss this week’s Best of Button playlist, featuring the top-viewed recent videos on the Button YouTube Channel. Today’s additions: Rudy Francisco, Olivia Gatwood, Rachel McKibbens, & Sienna Burnett. Congratulations poets!

While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including books by Danez Smith, Olivia Gatwood, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Rudy Francisco, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!

Rudy Francisco – “Your God”


Performing at his book release in Minneapolis.

“Sooner or later you will realize that you are praying to your own shadow, that you are standing in front of mirrors and are worshipping your own reflection.”

Don’t miss this amazing poem from Rudy Francisco, performing at Icehouse in Minneapolis.

Check out Rudy’s debut book, HELIUM, 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, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, Stevie Edwards, Claire Schwartz, & our newest release from Guante!