Psha, screw the crusty old intelligentsia of Park Slope. New York City’s 2012 Youth Poet Laureate is a Kingsborough Community College student.
Nineteen-year-old Ishmael “Ish” Islam snagged the title with his winning poem “Daydreaming at the Voting Booth” (above), tallying the most votes in a poetry slam competition at Cooper Union in November. The contest is a partnership between Urban Word NYC and the NYC Campaign Finance Board designed to energize young voters through poetry.
Islam recently gave an interview to School Library Journal, discussing how he got interested in poetry, its resurgence in the mainstream and his inspiration.
Apparently, a good chunk of that inspiration is Brooklyn. Islam is currently writing his first book of poetry, and here’s how he described it:
What I hope for the reader to get at the most surface level is a full perspective of a genuine Brooklynite. The upbringing in my hometown has everything to do with me as an artist and person.