February 1, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.--Ishle Yi Park, the poet laureate of Queens, will perform a mix of poems, spoken-word raps and songs on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Frontroom of the Keefe Campus Center at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Asian Students Association and the Amherst College English Department, the event is free and open to the public.

Park, a Korean-American woman born and raised in Queens, was named the borough's third poet laureate last year. The New York Times described her as "an operatic 26-year-old who seems to delight in flouting people's expectations" who combines "an angelic face and the soul of a rock star." Her CD, Work is Love, is available at www.ishle.com and includes tracks with Korean traditional drums, Spanish guitar, beatboxing and music produced by Japan's critically acclaimed DJ Honda.

She is the author of The Temperature of Water (Kaya Press, 2004), recipient of a fiction grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Gregory Millard Fellow. Her work has been published in over 20 anthologies, including The Beacon Best of 2001 and The Best American Poetry of 2003, edited by Pulitzer-Prize-winning Yosuf Komunyakaa.

Ishle has performed across the United States, Cuba and Korea. She is the first Korean-American woman ever to compete and feature on the finals stage at the National Poetry Slam. She was featured in "Russell Simmons Presents: Def Poetry Jam" on HBO, and appeared on the NAACP Image Awards reading a tribute poem to Venus and Serena Williams.

Ishle works in New York City and across the country to bring Asian-American artists into public high schools, and has taught creative writing in high schools, colleges, prisons and community centers throughout New York and California.