Kyle Tran Myhre (aka Guante) is a poet and activist whose work explores the relationships between narrative, power, and resistance. He’s performed at the United Nations, been a member of two National Poetry Slam championship teams, and visited countless colleges, conferences, and festivals, using spoken word and storytelling as doorways into critical dialogue. His most recent book, Not a Lot of Reasons to Sing, But Enough, is available now via Button Poetry.
Whether writing about men’s roles in ending gender violence, challenging dominant narratives related to race and racism, or just telling stories about the different jobs he’s had, Tran Myhre strives to cultivate a deeper engagement with social justice issues, one based in both empathy and agency. An educator as well as a performing artist, Tran Myhre completed his Masters studies at the University of Minnesota with a focus on spoken word, critical pedagogy, and social justice education, and regularly facilitates workshops and residencies. He lives in Minneapolis.
“Why do you look/sound familiar?”
Here are five of the most common ways people find me or my work:
- Viral Poems: My poem Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up’ went viral a few years back on Button Poetry’s channel. It got shared a lot on social media, racking up over a million views on YouTube and ten million more on Facebook. More recently, my poem about voting, To Throw a Wrench in the Blood Machine, took off on social media in a similar way.
- Fred Again collaborations: My voice is part of two songs from the fantastic UK producer/musician Fred Again: Kyle (I Found You) and Berwyn (all that i got is you). The first is a sample from my poem, Love in the Time of Undeath, and the second is a piece of poetry I wrote specifically for that track.
- “White supremacy is not a shark; it’s the water” is a quote from a poem of mine called How to Explain White Supremacy to a White Supremacist, and while the poem itself has popped up in a lot of places, it’s that specific quote that gets shared the most—on social media, in DEI workshops, and beyond. Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine opened one of his videos with it.
- “There is no light at the end of this tunnel, so it’s a good thing we brought matches.” Back in 2014, I was part of a side-project Hip Hop trio called Sifu Hotman, and our song Matches (though the link here is to the solo a capella version) struck a chord with a lot of people, eventually ending up as “the weather” on an episode of Welcome to Night Vale.
- I could keep listing my goofy little brushes with virality and indie fame, but I think I’m most proud of how my work is used in spaces like first-year orientation programs, bystander intervention trainings, and other social justice ed workshops and classes. When people recognize me these days, it’s often because they experienced poems like Consent at 10,000 Feet or The Art of Taking the L in these kinds of spaces, where the point is not the poem itself, but the conversation that happens after listening.