In Jason Koo’s new collection, America’s Favorite Poem (C&R Press, 2014), we see a poet placing himself on the timeline of his art. This timeline covers an ethnic, geographic, and artistic lineage that pays homage to Brooklyn’s literary heritage. As founder of Brooklyn Poets, he extends his literary citizenship to offer community to disparate groups of poets who live and work in the borough.
With Whitmanesque, sprawling lines, Koo finds the minutia of introspective content and sound to populate his pieces. What initially appears conversational, contains multitudes. He faces the darkness with an innate humor that assures the reader, nothing is so awful that it can’t be laughed at. This extends to the poet’s lighthearted demeanor and ease with the world.
Koo has reverence for his literary forebears and this is expressed in his title choices and placement of the self against the metropolis background, wondering, “Whether I’ll screw this up, whether I’ll ever feel like I have enough,// Whether I am enough.” I encourage listeners to pick up America’s Favorite Poem for the countless pieces that could have been featured on this podcast if given the time.
From baseball to artistic gentrification, we discussed it all on a rainy Saturday in NYC. I hope you enjoy this, my inaugural podcast with a brilliant writer at the beginning of a surely monumental career.