Kyle Tran Myhre (also known as Guante) is a poet, educator, and activist based in Minneapolis, MN. His work explores the relationships between identity, power, and resistance, and he’s performed everywhere from the United Nations, to music festivals like Eaux Claires and Soundset, to countless colleges, universities, and conferences. He’s also been part of two National Poetry Slam championship teams, given a TEDx Talk, and published two books 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, more critical 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; in that spirit, his performances use poems as jumping-off points for authentic dialogue, critical thinking, and community-building.
“Why do you look/sound familiar?”
I don’t know, but here are five of the most common ways people find me or my work:
- 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, and appeared on sites like Upworthy, Everyday Feminism, and beyond.
- “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.
- More recently, the fantastic UK producer/musician Fred again.. sampled my voice on a song called “Kyle (I Found You)” that also ended up in a lot of unexpected places, and on a lot of unexpected playlists. I’m Kyle, haha.
- 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.