I have the dream job. I write poems for a living. I work with poets every week. I eat, sleep, watch, dream, and digest poetry. In the mornings, I sit at the intimate Australian-owned coffee shop near the Brooklyn Museum, or the woman-owned global soul food café on Underhill near the Brooklyn Central library, and read poetry for hours. Whether online, in books, or via YouTube, I feast on figurative language for daily inspiration. My research of poetry—specifically contemporary poets—arms me as a curator and teaching artist in New York City. It allows me an accessible artillery when introducing poetry to New York City’s Public School system. As a BAM teaching artist, I recognize the necessity of acknowledging all of poetry’s nuances, and take the research of Brooklyn’s own treasures seriously. Here are a couple of my favorite Brooklyn poets!
Shanelle Gabriel, a native of Brooklyn, is my go-to poet when facilitating lectures on the necessity of humor and poetry. The Flatbush resident is a singer and actress, mainly writing in free verse. Her topics range from gender roles to rites of passage and lupus awareness. She is a crowd favorite with her sultry vibrato and is an active advocate for youth mentorship.
Jive Poetic, a Brooklyn resident, poet, teacher, and DJ, is a prime example of literary intellect with a hip-hop foundation. I rely on his poetry when introducing forms. He writes in formal forms including pantoum and iambic pentameter, proving extremely helpful in disabling a student’s fear of poetry. His topics includes personal reflection, introspection, and media analysis.
Brooklyn is a hotbed of talent, home to the greatest thinkers, writers and musicians. I am a lucky woman; this art of performance poetry allows me work with such inspiring and transformative artists. It constantly feeds me the best parts of Brooklyn.