ISHLE YI PARK NAMED THIRD POET LAUREATE OF QUEENS
FLUSHING, NY, April 23, 2004 – Helen Marshall, the Borough President of Queens, named Korean American poet Ishle Yi Park the third Poet Laureate of Queens in a ceremony today at Queens College co-hosted by her office and the Friends of the Queens College Library.
Ms. Li Park, who lives in Queens where she was born and raised, is the former recipient of a writing grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. One of her poems, “Queens Min Bi,” was included in the anthology The Best American Poetry of 2003, and her first book of poetry, The Temperature of This Water, will be published by Kaya Press this month. Her poems have been published in many journals, including Manoa, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, and Asian Voices.
“Being the Poet Laureate of Queens would be a true honor,” said Ms. Yi Park in her application. She noted that she looks forward to teaching poetry workshops and bringing “new life to literary communities in our area by reaching a broad range of people, from youth to senior citizens.”
Ms. Li Park has extensive poetry writing, teaching and performance experience. For a year and a half, she taught writing workshops to elementary and high school students in San Francisco, then was writer-in-residence for Youth Speaks, also in San Francisco. She has also been the Arts-in-Education Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York, has taught teen poetry workshops in public schools, and worked with budding writers at correctional facilities, nonprofit organizations and community centers. From October 1996 to May 2001, she was Associate Editor at the Asian Pacific American Journal.
Her active participation in performance poetry from Seoul, Korea, to the famed Nuyorican Poets’ Café has earned her several awards, including NYC Grand Slam Champion (2001).
The new borough bard succeeds Hal Sirowitz, whose term expired. The first Poet Laureate of Queens was Stephen Stepanchev.
Ms. Li Park, who will serve for three years, was chosen from among 75 applicants by an independent panel of judges comprised of literary professionals. The search was coordinated by Queens College.