Slam poetry gone viral: Neil Hilborn @ O2 Academy in Liverpool
Button Poetry is responsible in no small part for the popularity, quality and market-demand for spoken word poetry around the globe. The Minneapolis-based poetry company and independent publisher of performance poetry are best known for their viral videos of slam poetry taking place across the States.
Their YouTube channel has over one million subscribers and since March 2011 has amassed just under two hundred and three million views. One of their videos, Neil Hilborn’s OCD, was called “the most-viewed slam performance in history” with Neil himself becoming one of the most recognisable faces of the contemporary slam poetry movement.
Hilborn is a 28-year-old Texan whose work explores battles with mental health in a viscerally emotional and accessible way, allowing more people into the conversation and offering a space of understanding for those going through their own struggles. His newest collection, The Future, published earlier this year, “invites readers to find comfort in hard nights and better days”.
Having toured in 2017 (which inspired a poem about Greggs) Hilborn is returning to Blighty, this time in tow with Sabrina Benaim and Rudy Francisco, fellow Button poets, for a comprehensive UK-wide tour. These three artists form a formidable line-up together, each of them will deliver astounding work that, if their videos are anything to go by, will move audiences in an experience you won’t easily forget. Their work compliments the other, ranging from personal to political, and their range of tones and styles will showcase the best of American spoken word.
I’m bracing myself for an experience – hope to see you there.