5 Of Button Poetry's Must-See Spoken-Word Performances

5 Of Button Poetry's Must-See Spoken-Word Performances

"And she will not keep your secret, you cannot make fire feel afraid."

Recently, as I was scrolling through various social media outlets, a single video seemed to populate my feed. It was a form of art in which I had no prior exposure: slam poetry. This poem, in particular, was written by Neil Hilsborn, a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. The poem titled "OCD" was originally written as, what Neil described in his TED talk, "a snarky, fake, angry breakup letter to a woman" who left him. Through the editing process, the jokes diminished and eventually, the poem came to be what it is today.

After watching this video through social media, I searched on Youtube to watch it again (and again). The video was uploaded by a user called Button Poetry, which I discovered is a Minnesota-based organization that supports performance poetry through production and distribution methods. Their Youtube channel contains many spoken-word videos. After exploring these various performances, I fell absolutely in love with this form of art.

Not only is the poetry itself breathtaking--the word flow, word choice, etc.--but the emotions conveyed throughout the reading by the authors adds a raw and genuine feeling to the pieces. The authors are able to project their own sentiments during the performance. You're able to hear the pain in their voice during a heart-wrenching piece about breakups. You have the ability to observe the shaking and trembling of the girl reading the poem about PTSD. You can see the pain in the eyes of the ones struggling with mental illness. This type of poetry is incredibly powerful; I honestly develop goosebumps after almost every video.

Below is a collection of my favorite videos I have discovered thus far, including brief descriptions of the poems, as well as my favorite quotes. If you're interested in poetry, or even if you aren't, I highly suggest watching at least one of these videos. Enjoy!

1. "OCD" - Neil Hilsborn

I briefly described this poem previously. After describing falling in love with a girl, Neil illustrates the distance she started putting between the two of them, eventually telling him their love was a mistake. It's an incredibly heartbreaking and moving poem that concludes with my favorite quote: "I want her back so bad, I leave the door unlocked. I leave the lights on."

2. "14 Lines From Love Letters or Suicide Notes" - Doc Luben

In this poem, Doc takes a collection of quotes from either love letters or suicide notes, reading them to the audience to decipher the source of the quote: a love letter or a suicide note. I am entirely uncertain of the source of every single quote included by Doc, including my favorite, "I always imagined this would happen without warning, like suddenly on an ocean cliffside, but this is the kind of thing where waiting for the time to be right would just mean waiting forever."

3. "Trigger Warning" - Karina Stow

With the "triggered" joke becoming more and more prevalent in today's society, this video is important to show triggers are a real problem for people struggling with PTSD. The poet, we can infer, was emotionally and sexually abused in her relationship. "Loving someone is handing them a map of your weak spots." After sending her ex-boyfriend to jail, she developed severe paranoia caused by PTSD, which resulted in her becoming unnerved by various objects, people, and environments that once made her feel safe. Becoming triggered is a very, very real reaction, and this poem can perfectly illustrate it.

4. "To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter" - Jesse Parent

The title practically speaks for itself, in this case. A father sends a message to the boy that may one day date his daughter. Both hilarious and thought-provoking, it's a must-listen. "Consider my genes a mark of Cain, you will suffer seven times whatever you do to her. And she will not keep your secret, you can't make fire feel afraid."

5. "How We Have Learned To Love" - Gage Wallace

Love is changing within the new phase of technology. Suddenly, we are willing to say and do anything over texts or social media. We are disconnecting ourselves from real-life interactions and learning to love from a distance. "I never call her, we just send texts. I'm forgetting the sound of her voice, the taste and pressing calm of her lips. I want to leave her when she 'lol's'. Every time. But this is how we have learned to love."

Cover Image Credit: Wordupnaija

Popular Right Now

​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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10 TV Shows You Need To Watch On Hulu

Hulu is slept on


I have recently moved to watch shows and movies on Hulu and Netflix. Hulu has a lot of great shows and movies to offer that aren't on Netflix. While Netflix is still great, Hulu is definitely starting to grow on me. Here are some shows that I have watched or have started watching on Hulu that I think are pretty great!

1. 11.22.63


If you love James Franco and Stephen King, you'll love this show. The first episode is a bit long, but all the other episodes are only 45 minutes. The plot line is pretty interesting. I also like that it doesn't tell you everything, it shows it to you and you piece things together.

2. The Act

The fact that this show is based on a true story is just insane. The acting is really great, especially if you watch actual videos of Gypsy, Joey King does a great job.

3. Castle Rock

Another Stephen King masterpiece. This show is riveting and really makes you think about what the truth is in the context of the story, and brings in some ethical questions.

4. Future Man

I've only recently started this but it's pretty interesting and funny.

5. The O.C.

The O.C. (TV Series 2003–2007) - IMDb


This show was great. Sometimes it was a bit annoying, but it is a classic show from the early 2000s. You really become invested in all the characters and your opinion may change on some characters because they grow and develop throughout the show.

6. The Handmaid's Tale

If you've read the book, you should definitely watch the show.

7. Obsession: Dark Desires


I just love true crime stories and this really dives deep into crime stories and the darkest parts of humanity.

8. Intervention

This show can be really sad or frustrating, but I think it's good for people to see the reality of addiction.

9. Smallville

Smallville (2001-2011)


I also started this one very recently and I've always wanted to watch it. It can be cheesy but it's pretty entertaining.

10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine


This is a great show if you want to laugh. I love all of the characters and everything they bring to the table.

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