(Editor’s note: this video was scheduled to be released today, and there’s obviously other stuff on a lot of people’s minds because of yesterday’s supreme court news. While the thread in this poem of masculinity only being able to make sense of itself through the lens of power and control is relevant, if it can be useful to anyone, I’ve also pulled together a list of poems on reproductive justice here).

This is actually an older piece; Button Poetry posted a version of it back in 2019, but there was an audio issue, so we decided to record this new version. I’m grateful, as always, to them for giving an admittedly… nontraditional poem/speech/thing like this a home. 

It’s also a fun break from promoting my new book; the sci-fi-driven “Not a Lot of Reasons to Sing, but Enough” definitely has a thread running through it examining masculinity and its relationship with authoritarianism, but a poem like this, taking place on our world, written in my own voice, can be a lot more straightforward. I don’t think “straightforward” is a good thing or a bad thing; it’s just one way for a poem to be, and I like experimenting with multiple ways.

NOTES AND FRAMING

Continue reading “The Art of Taking the L (new video + big list of counter-narrative masculinity resources)”

A photo of KTM/Guante, holding his book “not a lot of reasons to sing, but enough” in front of his face.

We’re having a free, virtual launch performance for the new book on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at 7pm Central. This post is collecting some of stuff that I’ll likely be talking about, so they can all be in one place instead of a dozen different links.

This page also doubles as a good “how to support the book” page for people who want to; that is very much appreciated!

Continue reading “Launch Event Links and Resources”

After the plague took my sister, I punched the stone wall of her room so hard it shattered all the bones in my right hand. This is how the men in my family tell sad stories: we always add a little violence.

The first poem from the new book is here! NOT A LOT OF REASONS TO SING, BUT ENOUGH itself officially launches on March 29 (though if you order it from Button Poetry, you can get it early), and this poem is a good taste of things to come. Before I share some notes on the poem, I want to spotlight Casper Pham‘s incredible piece that accompanies this poem (Casper also has illustrations throughout the book):

Some background:

1. If you haven’t already heard, the new book is a “concept album,” so to speak, and all the poems are written in-character. It isn’t always clear which character is the voice of each poem, though; there’s a kind of focal-point character, Nary, but Nary and his mentor Gyre travel from village to village across this prison colony moon, and they share their poems while also listening to the poems of the people in those villages. The book is made up of a sampling of all those poems, as well as the conversations around them. The big takeaway, I guess, is that even though I wrote this, I am not the speaker.

2. This poem is a play off of my most well-known poem, “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up’.” I just thought it’d be funny to be on stage and say “ten responses to…” and then something completely different from what the audience expects. It kind of sets up what the book is all about, in terms of… probably not being what people expect. That being said, this poem also demonstrates that the new, weird book is still covering a lot of the same ground as my older work: this is a poem creating space to think critically about masculinity, authority, and power.

Here’s the full text; thank you for reading, listening, and/or picking up the new book. Please feel free to share!

Continue reading ““Ten Responses to the Proposal To Overcome the Current Plague by Challenging It to a Duel” (The First Poem/Video from the New Book!)”

How small a seed it takes to birth a forest. How small a spark it takes to burn down an empire.

If I’m being honest, this is maybe my favorite poem of mine, or at least one that means a lot to me. I’m very grateful that Button was able to capture this footage and chose to share it. A few quick notes:

  • I wrote this during the pandemic, parallel to writing my new book. It’s not actually in the new book, though, since that book takes place on another world and this poem is full of very Earth-centric references. But both this poem and that book explore the idea of what hope can mean, and what it can look like, amidst great crisis, grief, and uncertainty. So if you like the poem, you might like the book too.
  • I also want to be clear that, to me at least, this is a poem about finding those moments when we can choose to step up, to show up, to act. I realize that it will likely be interpreted to be more about mental health, and I worry that a line like “it only takes one moment to choose to fight” might hit differently depending on how people are hearing the poem. Of course, everyone is free to interpret how they need to; I’m just saying that for me, the poem is less about dealing with depression in a mental health sense, and more about dealing with cynicism in a political sense.
  • The poem is built from not just some of my favorite songs, but my favorite individual moments in songs. Obviously, there’s a deeper metaphor at work here, and the poem isn’t actually *about* the songs. But compiling those moments was really fun; my favorite moments aren’t always from my favorite artists, and my favorite artists don’t all show up in this poem. I would recommend it as a playlist-building exercise for anyone. It forced me to really identify those rare moments when a song “turns,” or where an already-great song becomes something truly transcendent.
  • Speaking of playlists, I made one for this poem here, especially for anyone who isn’t super familiar with the songs I chose. Bear in mind, however, that the timestamps in the poem might not be perfectly accurate, since different versions of songs (especially with videos) might have additional content that changes when the moments happen. But they should be close, at least.

Thanks so much for watching and sharing. I’d love to keep adding to this list, by the way. So if you have a favorite moment from a song, please feel free to share with me, whether on Twitter or IG or whatever.

Here’s the text. The video is for an earlier draft of this piece; since then, I’ve added to it. Probably not necessary additions on a poetry level, haha, but just some extra shout outs that I wanted to include:

~~~

TENSION AND RELEASE

One minute and 42 seconds into Springsteen’s Thunder Road, when the whole song opens up exactly as though you had just… rolled down the window, to let the wind blow back your hair. 24 seconds into Yoko Kanno’s Tank! and how could we not jam? The dance choreographed to Nina Simone’s Lilac Wine, about 38 minutes and 58 seconds into the Netflix version of Beyonce’s Homecoming. Four minutes and 27 seconds into Mind Playin’ Tricks on Me, when Bushwick Bill says… I’m not going to tell you what he says! You have to listen to the song. Five minutes and six seconds into Donny Hathaway’s A Song for You. 18 seconds into Fortunate Son by CCR. 10 seconds into Lost Ones by Lauryn Hill.

I don’t believe in magic, or miracles, or destiny. Just tension and release. 

In 9th Wonder by Digable Planets, Ladybug Mecca comes in at 3:11 with… “Now you see that I’m 68 inches above sea level/ 93 million miles above these devils,” …and that rhyme, like it was meant to be, like it couldn’t be any other way, answers a question I never knew I was asking. Four minutes into Radiohead’s Let Down, the lead vocal pulls itself apart, like the splitting of a cell, like the splitting of an atom. Like 44 seconds into Think by Aretha Franklin, when a song that was already great, and already would have been a classic, transforms, and transcends… that lyric: “freedom.” Expanding, overwhelming… miraculous. 

We collect and catalog these moments. Mixtape our memory. Call it inspiration; call it ammunition. Call it evidence, the building of a case for our species, the idea that as much tension as there is in this world, the release is worth fighting for.

Pull up the footage of Sam Cooke covering Blowin’ in the Wind. Or Gogol Bordello performing Wanderlust King on Letterman. Or the video for Never Catch Me by Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. Or Kesha hitting that high note in Praying. Or BTS tearing up as ARMY sings Young Forever at Wembley Stadium. Tension and release works so well in music because it’s a language our bodies already speak. At four minutes and nine seconds into Pa’lante by Hurray for the Riff Raff. We listen to our bodies. In Sabotage by the Beastie Boys: the breakdown at 1:40 and the scream at 1:52. We listen to our bodies. We feel. The bassline in Papa Was a Rolling Stone. The bassline in #1 Crush. The bassline in Come as You Are. The bassline in Dance, Dance. The bassline in Devil’s Pie.

At the lowest point in my life, I listened to D’angelo’s Voodoo every night, usually falling asleep about halfway through Send It On. But then there’s this moment, 42 minutes and 30 seconds later, in the song Untitled, where what feels like an entire album’s worth of sunrise finally erupts into day… and that would always wake me up.

And isn’t that art? Waking up.

Isn’t that the power of a moment? The DJ crossfades and a door opens. Between oblivion and being a body again. How does it feel? To step through it? 

Because yeah, it takes more than a moment… to win. Or to heal. Or to build the world we want to live in. But it only takes one moment to choose to fight. So make me a playlist of those moments, and I will listen to it whenever I need to remember: how small a seed it takes to birth a forest. How small a spark it takes to burn down an empire. How all it takes to break an infinite silence, is one… two, one two three…

a photo of some soil and a plant + the text "poetry playlist: reproductive justice"

(Updated 6/28/22)

It isn’t always time for poetry. When the Speaker of the House reads a poem on the day the Supreme Court overturns Roe, it makes me ashamed to be a poet. But only for a moment. As always, poetry is not “the work,” but it can support, and inform, and impact the work.

The actual work, of course, is organizing, and finding ways to support the people who are organizing. In this moment, that means supporting abortion funds, getting plugged in to existing reproductive justice networks, and following their leadership.

The poems collected here (listed below, also in playlist form) are potential doorways into dialogue, tools for people doing the everyday work of narrative-shifting. Telling our stories and speaking out about the issues we care about isn’t everything we need to do, but it is still part of the puzzle.

I make a lot of issue-based lists of poems on this site, and as always, the caveat is that lists are always imperfect and incomplete, based on my own experience/networks, NOT any kind of definitive or authoritative collection. My hope is that these poems can be starting points for further exploration:

Finally, these aren’t poems, but if there’s anyone for whom this is a new issue, or you’d just like to learn more, or get involved, a few links:


This post was originally the announcement for my new (at the time) poem. I just wanted to edit it so the list was at the top, and my poem here. Here’s a video, the full text, and some thoughts on the process:

As I often do with new poems, I wanted to share a few notes on process, and then some poems by other writers that tackle the topic in different ways.

A Few Notes on Process
This is a poem about a specific issue, but it’s also a poem that is exploring a couple different impulses:

  • I’m really interested in how we, as artists and writers, respond to fascism. I’ve written about this before, but I think ONE thing to think about is the importance of saying something, even when that something isn’t perfect or revelatory or magical. This isn’t a perfect poem, haha. It isn’t the most creative thing I’ve written. But it was important to me to stand up on a stage and say it, as soon as I had the opportunity. The poem might continue to get revised and people might catch a new draft at some point, but to me, the timeliness was more important than the timelessness.
  • The poem is also the product of a lot of conversations I’ve had with activists, organizers and advocates who work on issues related to gender, feminism, and reproductive justice. The refrain is always “men (especially cis men) need to speak up more.” That can seem super obvious, but it can be easy to forget when you’re “in” that world; for me, I’m around powerful voices who speak out on these issues all the time- that’s just my community. So I’ve often felt a pull to step back- which CAN be a healthy impulse! It can also, however, sometimes be an excuse to not do any work. It’s like, yes, it’s messed up that “men talking about being pro-choice” is still seen as bold or interesting- but that’s not an excuse not to do it.
  • I’m also really interested in multi-vocal responses, how no one poem has to be “definitive.” Multiple poems can present different angles of an argument, different POVs, etc. There are some examples below, but this framework has helped me as a writer: a poem doesn’t have to be all things to all people. A poem doesn’t have to be the conversation; it can be one piece of a much larger conversation (and different pieces may be able to do different “work” for different audiences, in different contexts). That realization, for me, has been freeing.

I don’t have a lot of faith in the power of poems to changes minds, especially about issues like abortion rights. That being said, poems can do so many other things. They can open up spaces for dialogue, they can provide useful frameworks or metaphors for understanding, they can contribute in ways both large and small to the ongoing push-and-pull of how the larger culture frames and understands complex issues, and they can plant seeds (while watering other seeds that have already been planted!)

Thank you! Please feel free to share. Full transcript:

Continue reading “A Few Poems on Reproductive Justice”

***Be sure to check out my new Spoken Word and Slam Poetry Resource Hub too***

Share the info in this post via this downloadable and foldable zine too.

(Updated June 2022)

Spoken word isn’t about a handful of “great” artists who have lots of video views or publishing accolades; it’s about how everyone has a story, and every story has value.

In that spirit, I wanted to consolidate a few resources, links, and tips that I’ve shared with young (and not-so-young) people all over the country. If YOU are interested in spoken word (or poetry, writing, art, more generally), whether that means finding somewhere to share your work, getting feedback to sharpen your craft, or just being around poets and building community, here are a few thoughts. Feel free to add more in the comments below.

1. Show Up: Attend an Open Mic or Poetry Slam

One of the best ways to get involved is to simply dive in—whether as a performer or just as an audience member. Spoken word is built around open mics, poetry slams, and other spaces in which anyone can show up and share something. “Showing up” might also mean checking out events or programs where we’re not performing—go to another poet’s reading, or the launch party for a literary magazine’s new issue, or a panel discussion: these can all be spaces to learn more, have fun, and build community.

While I realize that not everyone reading this lives in the Twin Cities, here is my big list of Twin Cities open mics, slams, and other opportunities. If you’re here, use it. If you’re not here, do a little searching and find the similar events in your community

Of course, if you’re reading this during the pandemic, this may be easier said than done. But with a little research, you may be able to find a virtual open mic or other kind of online community, which relates to the next point.

2. Build Your Cypher: Connect with Other Writers

There is a stereotype that writing is an intensely personal, individual act. And I don’t think that’s right. To me, writing is about community. Many high schools and colleges have spoken word clubs, and showing up to those can be a great first step. If you’re a student and your school doesn’t have one, start one! For those of us not in school, maybe there’s a local literary or arts organization that offers a writing circle.

As an introvert, I also know that this point can also be easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be as formal as a club or student organization. What counts is community—maybe it’s just a circle of friends who meet up once a week to give each other feedback. Maybe it’s an online document that multiple people can edit. Maybe it’s literally just one other person. But getting feedback from other writers, having someone to bounce ideas around with (and not just trade Instagram likes)—that can be really powerful.

3. Read More, Watch More, Write More

The deluge of poetry on social media over the past five years or so has meant that there’s more poetry than ever before, right at your fingertips. I’d argue that this is a good thing, but the flipside is that there’s a lot of not-so-great work out there too. That’s natural; that’s fine. But it can make learning and growing as an artist a challenge: is the IG poem with ten thousand likes a “good” poem? Is your poem, that didn’t win the poetry slam, a “bad” poem? What does that even mean?

There aren’t easy answers to those questions, if there are answers at all. The key is to never stop developing your critical eye/ear. This is work. Almost every poet or artist I know whom I would call successful has years and years of work under their belts. That work doesn’t have to be some fancy, inaccessible degree—but it does have to be work. It can be fun, though. Here are a few thoughts and resources:

  • In terms of books, there are too many great poets to shout out here, but a couple of presses that regularly publish work by poets who also participate in spoken word: Write Bloody, Button Poetry, Coffee House Press, Haymarket Books– I could go on and on; feel free to add more in the comments. There are also journals and zines like Poetry Magazine, Paper Darts, Mizna, Muzzle, and many, many more.
  • Lots of social media accounts share poetry; a lot of is bad. There are some, though, that regularly share good, curated stuff: @PoetryMagazine, @SlowDownShow, @POETSorg, and Litbowl.
  • Check out the VS podcast and The Poetry Question for interviews with practitioners.
  • Every April, TruArtSpeaks shares a daily writing prompt. Other sites, organizations, and accounts do this as well. Try to find some you like, and potentially try writing a 30/30 (30 poems in thirty days).

4. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Sharpen Your Craft

For artists, growth can happen both inside and outside of formal spaces. Classes, workshops, conferences, festivals, cyphers, e-classes– wherever you can find that support, take advantage of it.

5. A Few Links Related to Publishing and Career Stuff

My work generally focuses on performance, so I don’t have much advice when it comes to publishing. But I can share a few links that may be useful:

(BONUS POINT) 6. Live Your Life

Writing is important, but the best poems don’t come from locking ourselves away in a cabin and just writing for 20 hours every day. They come from engaging with our community, showing up to things (and “showing up” can mean a lot of different things, not just in-person activities), experiencing the world, having conversations, organizing and rabble-rousing, thinking critically, and then writing. Have fun.

It can also be very… tempting to see how poetry exists on social media and want to just immediately jump into sharing freewrites on IG and expecting overnight fame and fortune. And while that approach may work for a tiny, tiny number of people, it generally isn’t a good way to build a career. Social media can be a good way to share our work, but it’s most powerful when it’s supplementing what we’re doing offline (like building relationships, performing, showing up, reading, writing, etc.), not being a substitute for it. That’s a whole other post, but wanted to share that thought.

A running theme through all of these points is the idea that craft matters. Of course, if you’re just writing poetry for your own healing or enjoyment, whether some other poet or critic likes it or not is beside the point. But if you’re someone who is trying to make a career out of it, or really wants to find some measure of concrete success (book sales, publishing credits, a larger audience, etc.), then I hope these links, thoughts, and resources can be useful.

“This is my disillusionment. Not the absence of hope; the absence of illusion.”

I’m always grateful for the signal-boosts that I get from Button, but I am especially grateful for this one. This is a poem that I’ve been working on for years, through multiple drafts, through my own growth and shifting consciousness. I’m not sure that it would ever win a slam or get published in a big journal, but I know it’s one of the most important things that I’ve written, for myself.

It’s also part of a series of poems really digging into the idea of what activism is– not just what it is on an intellectual level, but what it looks like, and how we can all use the power we have to do right by each other. That series also includes Quicksand, Thoughts and Prayers, and some new pieces that aren’t online yet.

I wanted to use this post not only to share the poem, but to consolidate some of the posts that I’ve been making lately sharing resources and strategies for people who are interested in getting involved in activist work. Because now is the time. I hope you can find something useful in these:

For People Who Want to “Do” Something But Don’t Know What to Do
This is a piece I wrote sharing some of the basics of how everyday people can use the power that we have to make a difference. It also features a big list of cool Twin Cities-area activist organizations. It’s built around the phrase: “Just because you don’t have the power to run out the front door and magically ‘fix’ everything, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have power.”

My TEDx Talk: Five Things Art Taught Me About Activism
Despite the title, this is not just for artists. This is a talk about how the questions that artists ask often mirror the questions that emerging/aspiring activists ask. The steps that artists take from idea, to concept, to art often mirror the steps that activists take from value, to principle, to action. If you’re looking to dive in, but don’t know where to start, this is for you.

For People Who Aren’t Usually “Political” but Know that Something Very Wrong is Happening Right Now
This piece is more specifically about the family separation crisis that has been in the news this past month. It shares links to good local organizations, plus a few potential action steps.

Beyond the Benefit: Ten Ways Artists Can Help Build and Support Movements
While the previous three links are for everyone, this one is focused on artists– especially musicians, MCs, and other performers. Because one powerful thing we can do is take spaces that are not activist spaces, and *make* them activist spaces. Burst the bubbles.

A Few Thoughts on “Political” Poetry and How Artists Can Respond to the Present Moment
Another post about agency and action, this time zooming in on poets specifically. Let’s make some noise.

A Few Thoughts and Links RE: The Ongoing Fight for Reproductive Justice
Using my blog time machine to insert a post from May 2019 into a post from June 2018. More resources, more ideas for taking action.

This one isn’t mine, but I wanted to share this moving, important piece from Kelly Hayes called Saturday Afternoon Thoughts on the Apocalypse. A relevant quote: Václav Havel once said that “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” I live in that certainty every day. Because while these death-making systems exist both outside and inside of us, so do our dreams, so long as we are fighting for them. And my dreams are worth fighting for. I bet yours are too.

Finally, a quote; this is from Tony Kushner, by way of Mariame Kaba:

I do not believe the wicked always win. I believe our despair is a lie we are telling ourselves. In many other periods of history, people, ordinary citizens, routinely set aside hours, days, time in their lives for doing the work of politics, some of which is glam and revolutionary and some of which is dull and electoral and tedious and not especially pure – and the world changed because of the work they did. That’s what we’re starting now. It requires setting aside the time to do it, and then doing it. Not any single one of us has to or possibly can save the world, but together in some sort of concert, in even not-especially-coordinated concert, with all of us working where we see work to be done, the world will change. And we have to do it by showing up places, our bodies in places, turn off the fucking computers, leave the Web and the Net – and show up, our bodies at meetings and demos and rallies and leafletting corners. 

Because this is a moment in history that needs us to begin, each of us every day at her or his own pace, slowly and surely rediscovering how to be politically active, how to organize our disparate energies into effective group action – and I choose to believe we will do what is required. Act. Organize. Assemble. Oppose. Resist. Find a place a cause a group a friend and start, today, now now now, continue continue continue. (source)

Feel free to add more in the comments! Here’s the full text of the poem:

Continue reading “New Poem: “A Pragmatist’s Guide to Magic” + Consolidated List of Activist Resources”

UPDATE (2022): CHECK OUT THIS LINK FOR A “CLASSROOM-FRIENDLY” VERSION OF THIS POEM (WITH HIGH-QUALITY VIDEO/AUDIO), PLUS REFLECTIONS ON ITS TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY, PLUS MORE RESOURCES!

(edit: ten million now)



On Friday, Button Poetry posted their footage of my poem “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up’ on Facebook video, and it reached a million views in just two days (the original version on YouTube is almost up to a million as well, but was posted three years ago; there’s also this version, with the full text as well, on my own page, which I think is the highest quality audio/video).

Obviously, numbers don’t mean everything. But it is cool to see a poem with a message like this resonate with so many people. I doubt that a million views means a million people watched, but one number that does matter to me is those 25k shares. I figured I’d use this opportunity to both say thank you for all of the shares and reposts, but also to share a couple of thoughts on the poem itself:

1. The poem is in my book. If you like it, you will very likely enjoy the whole book, which is full of poems, song lyrics, and essays about these issues and many others. The blurb is below, and here’s a link to how you can order one (through Button Poetry).

One part mixtape, one part disorientation guide, and one part career retrospective, this book brings together spoken word poems, song lyrics, and essays from the past decade of Guante’s work. From the exploration of toxic masculinity in “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up’,” to the throwback humanist hip hop of “Matches,” to a one-act play on the racial and cultural politics of Eminem, “A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry” is a practitioners eye-view of the intersections of hip hop, poetry, and social justice.

2. Bring me to your school or conference.  My work actually involves traveling to colleges, universities, conferences, and other places to use spoken word as an entry point into deeper conversations about identity, power, and resistance. Check out my booking info here and get in touch.

3. On a craft/writing level, I’ve always thought of this one as an okay poem with a really strong “hook,” which is the term I use to refer to its conceptual framework, the thing that makes it different from all of the other poems about masculinity/gender stuff out there. If you’re an aspiring spoken word artist (or really any kind of writer), I think hooks are really important to understand, whether you choose to lean on them or not. I talk more about them through this video series.

4. Finally, a quick note on the content. I haven’t been able to sift through all of the comments, but I can pretty much imagine some of them. Just want to make a handful of things very clear:

  • The poem is about how so many of the assumptions associated with masculinity are based in fear, shame, and insecurity; it’s also about how so many assumptions about competence and power are based in masculinity. And yes, this is reflected in so-called “little things” like language and everyday pop culture that we don’t often think critically about (not sure if people even remember the specific Miller Lite commercials that this poem is directly responding to). The poem is very much about the relationship between those “little things” and the larger realities of sexism and gender-based violence.
  • The issue is not that telling people to “take responsibility and be strong” (which, yeah, I know is what “man up” means) is always a bad thing (though it can be, depending on what that person actually needs); the issue is that framing responsibility and strength as solely masculine qualities reinforces a whole lot of poisonous essentialist garbage about gender that ends up hurting people.
  • Because this always comes up in conversations about language: remember that “hey let’s maybe think more critically about the language we use” is not the same as “hey you should go to jail for saying the ‘wrong’ thing.” Empathy is not censorship. The poem is about language, but it’s also about something deeper than that.
  • The poem is not saying that men have it worse than women (or gender-nonconforming people), or that we have it just as bad. Sexism hurts everyone, but it hurts everyone in very different ways, and a critical understanding of how sexism/patriarchy works is a necessary first step in disrupting and dismantling it.
  • I know that sometimes MRA-type people kind of like the poem, which is weird. I mean, yeah, I can imagine how it might resonate with people who want to talk about the unfair and messed up expectations that society places on men. But this is still very much a feminist poem. Because it isn’t women, or feminism, that places those expectations on men– it’s patriarchy. So people bring up men’s high suicide rates, or how so many men “don’t feel like they fit in” in our society any more– I hear you. I just don’t share your analysis. Feminism isn’t the enemy– it’s an invaluable lens, a tool for actually fixing some of those problems (as opposed to just going on the internet and harassing women/complaining about feminism, which is the MRA approach). For more on this topic, check this out.

Finally, just a note that if you like this poem, check this one out too. Plus, you can find all of my work here. PLUS, I made a list of 100+ spoken word poems by other people, including a dozen or so on gender and masculinity. This is an ongoing conversation, featuring many voices, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of it.

UPDATE (2022): CHECK OUT THIS LINK FOR A “CLASSROOM-FRIENDLY” VERSION OF THIS POEM (WITH HIGH-QUALITY VIDEO/AUDIO), PLUS REFLECTIONS ON ITS TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY, PLUS MORE RESOURCES!

Lots happening right now, especially with my final grad school presentation right around the corner (Monday, 4/11 at 7pm at Rarig; free and open to the public). Two things related to that:

First, here is brand new footage of what has become my most popular poem, “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up.'” The Button Poetry version already has 850k views (!), and there’s another version with 100k+ too, but this performance is just better, I think. If you know me, you probably already know this poem, but it’s always nice to have a more definitive version available online. Find the full text here.

Second, I just completed a huge update to my “Beginner’s Guide to Spoken Word and Slam Poetry” page. There, I’ve collected over a hundred poems that I would recommend to others; a few personal favorites mixed in with some that I think just do a good job capturing the power of spoken word as both a form of artistic expression and a potential teaching tool. Check it out, and feel free to get in touch with any suggestions.