Literary Buttons (and Where to Get Them)

Remember back in 2007, 2008 when everyone was obsessed with Pieces of Flair on Facebook?

facebook pieces of flair
I hope I never see the sentence “Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver” ever again.

That hobby has now extended into real life; tons of people, including me, now collect buttons. Mine started when I began throwing the free buttons I’d get at school into my desk’s junk drawer. But now that putting buttons on things is becoming cool again (?), people have just been giving them to me. And now I have a mini-pile…

literary buttons
For those interested, the “Vote Micah and Christina” buttons totally helped us win our high school theatre troupe election.

…some of which are a little embarrassing…

directioner button
I want to say this button is ironic, but I love One Direction. All the girls on my floor freshman year had these.

…and most of which are literature-related.

For instance:

YA saves read local button

When I bought Maureen Johnson‘s novel The Name of the Star, it came signed (score!) AND included the “YA Saves” button above (double score!). I have no idea where the “Read Local” button came from, but I love it.

jane austen literary reading books button

These two are the newest additions to the pile! I came across fableandblack’s Etsy shop and I fell in love with all of her designs. These two were my favorites, so into the cart they went. (I also bought one of her bookmark packs and I love them.)

And now for my favorites:

marianne moore sylvia plath hilda doolittle hd button

The black and white buttons were made for me by a professor who owns her own button maker. Top left is Marianne Moore, who also said the quote on the bottom left, and bottom right is H.D./Hilda Doolittle. The full quotation, if you’re interested, is from a poem by Moore simply entitled “Poetry”:

“I, too, dislike it. / Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one dis- / covers in / it, after all, a place for the genuine.”

I love Marianne Moore.

The pink button on the top right has a really cool story. The professor that made it specializes in modernist/contemporary writers (hence Moore and H.D.), and one of her favorite writers is Sylvia Plath. Plath wrote most of her poetry upside down and backwards on pink Smith College memorandum paper. When my professor went to Smith to see their archive on Plath (the archive, by the way, will be made into an exhibit at the Smithsonian in 2017!), she asked for a couple reams of the paper. They don’t make it anymore, but they had some in storage, and months later when our class was ending, my professor took one sheet from the ream and made us all buttons out of it. It’s a testament to the professor that we all wore our buttons on the last day of class.

So even though it’s been almost eight years since Pieces of Flair was popular, I’m still collecting those buttons. Maybe my next move will be to get a bulletin board to bring the whole look together…?


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