Southern Brooklyn

KCC Student Named NYC’s “Young Poet Laureate”


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.

Check out the full interview.

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  1. Wow!  The kid has talent.  I was almost afraid to open it – I was hoping that it would not be a rap song.  Congratulations to Ishmael.  Keep writing!

  2. Buster Rhymes (sp)  did a song “Branded” which used the theme song of a 60’s show of the same name starring Chuck Connors (who was from Brooklyn). I enjoyed that one.

    Eminem music is full of historical references, especially of the 60’s. I get a kick out of some of it.

    I pick on the stuff in some of my posts, but more jokingly. Hey, every generation has its music, and everyone thinks only their own music is valid (just like politics).

    I remember what my dad thought of Elvis. He picked up a magazine with him on the cover and made a motion like he was using it for toilet paper. Then later, my dad actually began to like Elvis’ music.

    I knew I was beyond childhood when, at about 20 years old, I was listening to Dylan and some punky 11 year old said to me “mister, you listen to that faggot music??”

    The scene in the “Wedding Singer” (Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore) when that old lady breaks into rap at a party just cracks me up. I was dating a woman at the time whose 10 year old daughter had it down exactly, she could make me spit up food anytime.

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