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."
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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

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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MTV's 'Awkward' Was A Social Revolution That Taught Me A Lot Of What I Know Today

Jenna Hamilton is my heroine.

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Back in my old country, when this show was airing, my friends and I would always find time between class to discuss what could possibly happen in the intriguing life of Jenna Hamilton. Would she and Matty finally realize that they are meant to be together -- or will something come their way and take them off the correct path?

Moments like this used to be the highlight of my day. Awkward. is one of my favorite shows, and I was overly excited when I found out it was on Hulu.

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The story follows ordinary Jenna Hamilton, who has been crushing on dream-guy Matty McKibben for... like ever. During summer camp, her wish to hook up with him comes true. After that one time, Jenna and Matty's secret relationship began, but the world well off Jenna's hands as she suffered an accident tagged as a suicide attempt. News of her suicide attempt rang through the school like the school bell, and then she had to manage her way through the hardships of high school.

In reality, she hadn't really tried to commit suicide. Perhaps she had written about how she wanted to die, but the accident was just that -- an accident. Too many aspirins fell off the bottle and she slipped on the floor and broker her arm or shoulder.

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However, the intriguing life of Jenna Hamilton contained more than her crush for Matty. The show didn't just entirely revolve around them. The show progressed as Jenna did as well; learning lessons about people and life and decisions.

Some decisions can benefit you but hurt others. Bad influences are bad influences; everybody tried warning you, but you never listened. The world around you is always burning with horror and madness and sadness. Everyone is in pain, not just you. Everybody deserves a "happy ending" every now and then.

Jenna Hamilton became my favorite TV character since I first laid eyes on her. She just wanted to fit into the thrilling, yet dangerous, the world that high school is. Everyone hyped it up in middle school. Not everybody gets to sit at the top of the hierarchy from the first day -- only a few lucky ones can. Those who dwell at the bottom need to tread those murky waters.

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She aspired to be a writer, just as me -- and like some of you. Her dream was to go to college to study creative writing. A young girl with a heart of gold, and a mind that spoke wonders on her blog. A soul that was easily manipulated by the perilous beauty of the world. A girl that always went back to the top when she found herself at the bottom -- a resilient human being.

I'll admit that I am a sucker for many shows, but Awkward. is definitely at the top. Despite the quirky lines and hidden humor, Awkward. served as a professor for those of us who were growing. It helped to open an eye for the world out there because there is more to life than boys and crushes and popularity. There is a world beyond high school, and that is a lesson I'll always carry with me from that show.

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