poet, MC, activist; www.guante.info

Survival is not a fortress; it is a garden.

This past July, I got to open up for Rudy Francisco here in Minneapolis at Icehouse, and used it as an opportunity to formally “debut” a poem I’ve been working on for months, probably my favorite new thing that I’ve written since my book came out. As always, I like the share a few notes on the process, as well as the full text below.

Continue reading “When It Really Is Just the Wind, and Not a Furious Vexation”

NOTE: This new zine is part of a limited-edition zine bundle I’m making available via Button Poetry. I normally just give all my zines away for free; the bundle is meant for people who aren’t able to see me in-person; the price covers just a portion of the printing costs. Preorders are available now.

As with all my zines, the FULL text is free and accessible online. Especially with this one, which is less of my own writing and more a curated list of cool quotes and resources, it’s important to me that people who need it can get it.


The rectangular cover of a zine featuring the text "of what future are these the wild, early days? resources for emerging movement-builders

Over the last decade that I’ve been traveling and performing, a big pet project of mine has been finding ways to invite people into activist work. Even when I’m brought in to facilitate conversations specifically about masculinity, or consent, or whiteness or whatever, I try to help those conversations “land” in a space of agency and possibility—yes, the problems we face are big and intimidating, but they’re not inevitable or insurmountable.

That’s a simple idea, but in this historical moment, it’s easy to lose sight of. I think more people than ever are fired up and want to do something, but there are also more “off-ramps” for that energy than ever before. Our outrage can get channeled into performative social media posting, into passively ingesting hyper-online leftist podcaster/youtuber content, into voting and nothing beyond voting, into cool-kid doomer cynicism, into anxiety around being the most politically-tuned-in individual we can be, and on and on.

So many of the young people I work with today have incredible politics, light-years ahead of where I was at their age, but not a lot of experience with, or exposure to, perspectives on organizing. And to be clear, I’m not any kind of expert, or even a full-time organizer. I’ve just had the privilege of having some great mentors and being plugged into powerful movement spaces, so I’m trying to use what platform I have to pass along some of what I’ve learned.

This zine (what’s a zine?) is the synthesis of a bunch of conversations related to all that. It mixes some foundational perspectives with some really recent ones. Something that should be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway because we’re on the internet: it’s not comprehensive. It’s not “everything you’ll ever need to know about activism.” It’s just a 12-page zine. The idea is that it’s a sampling, a small collection of potential starting points, doorways into movement work.

Because crisis often happens (or feels like it happens) all at once; preventing crisis is longer-term, all-the-time work. This is about how we might step into that work.

The full text of the zine is below; as is the case with all my zines, I also have physical copies, and you get them for free at events where I’m performing. If you’re an educator, activist, or just someone who can put them to use, feel free to reach out (you can contact me via my booking form) and we can discuss bulk orders. Instagram carousel version here.

Continue reading “Of What Future Are These The Wild, Early Days? (Resources for Emerging Movement-Builders)”

Why does this apocalypse feel so familiar?

New song, our first in five years! Get it wherever you listen to music (spotify, apple music, etc.), or right here:

Official Blurb: In 2018, Minneapolis-based duo Guante & Big Cats released War Balloons, an album of anthemic, explicitly political, sci-fi-tinged indie Hip Hop. To mark the five-year anniversary of that project (and its reintroduction to streaming services after being missing for a time), they’re releasing an “extended version” featuring a brand new track, Roguelike.

My Own Notes: The new song is part of a re-released version of our 2018 album, War Balloons. It’s available NOW. Nothing else on that project has changed; the reason for the re-release is just some technical stuff on the back end, and the new song is free, so if you already bought the album, you don’t have to buy it again. And if you missed it five years ago (aka a million years ago), here’s an opportunity to catch it. Like a lot of artists, I tend to dislike everything I did that’s older than a month or so, but I’m still pretty proud of this one. It features some of my best songwriting, and Big Cats is always brilliant. Some extended thoughts on the new song below.

Quick, somewhat related note: If you’re reading this post today (Saturday, June 17, 2023), come see me perform at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival tonight in Minneapolis. It won’t be a G&BC set, but I’ll be sharing poems and songs over See More Perspective’s live production. 6-7pm on the Cities 97 stage.

an album cover: purple jellyfish float in a dark sky over a nondescript horizon. The text reads "guante & big cats: war balloons (extended)"
a square featuring the text "roguelike: guante & big cats" plus an image of a person at the end of a dark tunnel.
Continue reading “Guante & Big Cats: ROGUELIKE (plus revisiting the War Balloons album)”

Honored to contribute a poem; check it out, along with all the other contributions too.

The cover of the RJ Zine, featuring the text “reproductive justice: a university of minnesota women’s center zine collaboration along with various images of human beings with children, trees, mountains, and sunsets.
Cream background, three art panels in the bottom 3rd of the image with a tree, a mountain, and sun reflecting on water. Text from top to bottom reads: Pick up your zine copy! / Come to the Women's Center lounge in Appleby Hall Room 65 during one of the following times to pick up your copy!* / [In bold] Tuesday May 2nd, 11:30AM-12:30PM and 2:30PM-4:30PM / Wednesday May 3rd, 11AM-12PM and 1PM-4PM / Thursday May 4th, 11AM-12PM and 2�PM-3:30PM / [in italics] *Limit 1 copy/person. While supplies last. We will offer second round print delivery and pickup in a couple weeks based off demand!*

What is Reproductive Justice? I’ve always appreciated SisterSong’s framing:

SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. We believe that Reproductive Justice is…

  • A human right. RJ is based on the United Nations’ internationally-accepted Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a comprehensive body of law that details the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of government to protect those rights.
  • About access, not choice. Mainstream movements have focused on keeping abortion legal as an individual choice. That is necessary, but not enough. Even when abortion is legal, many women of color cannot afford it, or cannot travel hundreds of miles to the nearest clinic. There is no choice where there is no access.
  • Not just about abortion. Abortion access is critical, and women of color and other marginalized women also often have difficulty accessing: contraception, comprehensive sex education, STI prevention and care, alternative birth options, adequate prenatal and pregnancy care, domestic violence assistance, adequate wages to support our families, safe homes, and so much more.
Continue reading “New Reproductive Justice Zine from the UMN Women’s Center”

I used to more frequently do “here’s what I’m up to” posts, but that feels like a relic of an earlier internet time. Still, there’s a lot happening, so I figured I’d share some info here so it can be in a central place rather than a bunch of random social media posts.

NPR Tiny Desk Concert as part of Fred Again’s set

Check it out! Fred sampled my poem “Love in the Time of Undeath” for the song “Kyle (I Found You)” and the result if gorgeous. It’s the first song in his set, and I even appear as a video ghost performing the poem.

While Kyle (i found you) uses a sample of my work, we did a proper collaboration for his song Berwyn (all that i got is you); my poem/voice comes in during the second half of that song.

Uhhh and hey check out this video of me up on the big screen at Lollapalooza!

Continue reading “Tiny Desk appearance, National Poetry Month performances, new video sampler, etc.”

a photo of the book "not a lot of reasons to sing, but enough" next to lego representations of the book's main characters, Gyre and Nary.

This piece is from my book. Not a Lot of Reasons to Sing, But Enough is more-or-less a poetry book (find all the poems/videos we’ve released from it so far here), but it’s written from the perspective of various characters; sometimes, those characters do other things beyond writing and performing poems—they have conversations, get into arguments, tell stories, and participate in panel discussions. In this excerpt, the robot poet Gyre has been invited to be part of a panel discussion; Gyre doesn’t want to, though, so makes their apprentice Nary do it instead.

All Advice is Bad Advice, Including the Advice that All Advice is Bad Advice

The Library of the Road has brought together three professional wordsmiths for a panel discussion on advice for aspiring writers. The three writers, along with a moderator representing the Library, sit on stools inside a communal hall where a few dozen attendees sit on benches. The Library’s traveling collection of texts lines the sides of the hall; a few wanderers browse through the books and scrolls.

Continue reading “All Advice is Bad Advice, Including the Advice that All Advice is Bad Advice (Book Excerpt)”

There is no light at the end of this tunnel/ so it’s a good thing we brought matches.

I haven’t released any music of my own since 2018’s “War Balloons” with Big Cats (although I did appear on those two Fred Again songs; find them here). Surprise! Here’s something new, a remix of “Matches.”

This is a piece of writing that has meant a lot to me over the years, the closest thing I have to a personal manifesto. It was originally part of a side project, so I’ve pretty much always performed just my own parts solo (often a capella), and had wanted to build a solo version of the song out of that for a long time. I guess good things take time, because Dave Olson is a musician I’ve liked and respected for 20 years (!) now; someone who was part of the very first community of artists that ever nurtured me, and it really feels special to collaborate with him on this song. Hope you like it.

Listen via: Bandcamp | Spotify | Apple Music

Music, Mixing, and Artwork by Dave Olson
Words by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre
Vocals Recorded by SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE at Luv ‘n’ Dedication Studio, St. Paul, MN

a child in silhouette against a city skyline, holding up a large match.
Continue reading “Matches (Olson Remix)”

This kind of magic changes you when you touch it.

A quick note: the video here is the most recent performance; I did also share this one right when the poem first came out. Thanks to Button Poetry for capturing it!

I know you’re not supposed to explain the poem before sharing it. But I also never liked the notion that poetry is a puzzle to be solved. For me, it’s more about expression and communication, so here are a few brief framing notes:

  • This is a contrapuntal poem. So it’s one poem, set next to a second poem, that can also be read side-by-side as a third poem.
  • The first part is about BTS, a Korean pop group. If you know, you already know. If you don’t, I share some recommended listening below.
  • The second part is about Warhammer 40k, a dystopian, ultra-violent, sci-fi series of tabletop games, video games, and novels. The 40k refers to it being set (more-or-less) 40,000 years in the future.
a graphic featuring the text "bts 40k: a contrapuntal poem by kyle tran myhre: IG: @guantesolo. Plus a stark, black and white clip from BTS' "fake love" video featuring the group in silhouette against a chaotic backdrop of white marble arms. The image is sideways.

During the first few years of the pandemic, I listened to a lot of BTS and played a lot of the video game series Total War: Warhammer (which isn’t actually set in the 40k universe, but opened the door to that lore for me), and ended up trying to write two poems about these pieces of pop culture that were so helpful to me in very dark times. Eventually, I figured out that I was actually writing one poem—that juxtaposing the most joyful and most nihilistic pop culture I could think of could be a doorway into thinking more deeply about hope and collectivity. The contrapuntal is a weird form, but it just made sense for this concept.

I wrote this before BTS announced that they were going on hiatus in order to begin their mandatory military service. The militaristic imagery in the piece might make it seem like it’s some kind of commentary on that, but it’s not intentional. I could imagine someone writing that poem, but I leave that to more appropriate and talented writers.

I assume that the venn diagram between BTS fans and 40k fans is quite small, and maybe no one will “get” or like this poem. But sometimes you have to write the thing that’s just for you.

A final note on the text: I’ve included the traditional, side-by-side version below, but I’ve ALSO included a separate block of text for the three poems as separate pieces. I did this because as someone who primarily writes in order to perform, there are a few moments in the poem that just kind of “work” better when performed aloud than on the page, especially concerning punctuation and emphasis.

The video is embedded above; here is the image of the poem’s proper layout + text of the poem below it:

An image of the text of the poem "BTS 40K" also available on this web page as text.
Continue reading “BTS 40k (A Contrapuntal Poem) – Text, Video, and Zine”

Ugly music can be beautiful. A simple song can kindle a complex memory. A living creature gave its skin to that drum.

This is one of the first poems in NOT A LOT OF REASONS TO SING, BUT ENOUGH. Like everything in the book, it’s written in-character. I feel like I always have to add that caveat, since so much spoken word is driven by first-person, poet-as-voice-as-poet approaches (which I don’t think is a good thing or a bad thing; just one approach), and this book definitely doesn’t do that.

Kind of a table-setting piece for the book, a way to do some exposition without just a big info-dump. Beyond the narrative function of the piece, though, it’s also about the importance of… not just art and culture in general, but more specifically: spaces for art and culture to live. So much of this book goes back to the idea of the open mic, the poetry slam, the concert, the mural, the party, the dance, etc. and the role(s) that those spaces play in resisting, disrupting, and dismantling authoritarian impulses, in both the society and the individual.

Thanks again to Button Poetry for releasing all these videos. If you liked this one, the newly updated “poetry” page on this website has a list of some of my most popular pieces, followed by a list of other poems from this book.

This is also the last video of 2022. You can find a 2022 recap post featuring some “in case you missed it” highlights here. Thanks for watching/reading.

The full text:

Continue reading “All the People I Want To Say “I Told You So” to Are Dead (Video + Text)”