Brooklyn Poets Book Launch: Jason Koo

Join us for the launch of poet Jason Koo's fourth full-length collection of poems, No Rest, on Saturday, June 1, at 144 Montague St and via Zoom! Doors will open for a reception for in-person guests at 6 PM, featuring a special "No Rest 'Til Brooklyn" whiskey cocktail mixed by Brooklyn Poets Board Director David Grunner. Readings will begin at 7 PM. Dorothy Chan, Trace DePass and Terrance Hayes will open for Koo. Book signing to follow.

Note that by attending this event, you agree to abide by our code of conduct and COVID-19 policy below. All in-person attendees for events are currently required to wear masks (regardless of vaccination status) except readers at a safe distance on stage. We will have masks available. Our full policy can be found at the end of the event description. Brooklyn Poets reserves the right to dismiss from our programs any participant found to be in violation of these policies. Thank you for respecting our community.

Closed captions will be available for the event through the Zoom livestream. For more information and to request additional accommodations, contact us at [email protected].

About No Rest

What do we truly know? Are we deceiving ourselves when we think we know ourselves or the world? Jason Koo's No Rest, a winner of the Diode Editions Book Contest, pursues these questions through a series of long poems like essays in verse that demonstrate the elusiveness of any answers even as they keep up the pursuit. The book begins on the day after the 2016 presidential election, when Koo discovers that his best friend from high school has killed himself by throwing himself in front of a train. The year he thought would be the best of his life—because of the unexpected joy of meeting his future wife and seeing his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers win the city's first championship since 1964—turns out to be just another triumph of his own self-absorption.

The book then returns to the start of 2016, unfolding along two arcs: one to the poet's fortieth birthday that August, the other spanning the next four years to the outbreak of COVID-19. With bitter honesty and irreverent, self-deprecating humor, Koo's No Rest explores the problem of how to emerge from the condition of the "exact same," the "saturation // of the same so-be-it that has always been" in American life, and the only truth that becomes clear over the course of this relentless, boundary-stretching book is that there is no rest to this quest. Juxtaposing personal failures against systemic ones, No Rest shows again and again that what we think is knowing is not knowing, doing is not doing, being is not being. We always find ourselves enclosed again in the "social fabric of fabrications," still trying to begin being in a more truthful, impactful way.

About the Author

Jason Koo is a second-generation Korean American poet, educator, editor and nonprofit director. He is the author of four full-length collections of poetry: No Rest, a winner of the Diode Editions Book Contest, More Than Mere LightAmerica's Favorite Poem and Man on Extremely Small Island. His work has been published in Best American Poetry 2022Missouri ReviewPoetry NorthwestVillage Voice and Yale Review, among other places, and won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and New York State Writers Institute. He is an associate teaching professor of English and the director of creative writing at Quinnipiac University and the founder and executive director of Brooklyn Poets. For his work with Brooklyn Poets, Koo was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture" by Brooklyn Magazine.

About the Opening Acts

Dorothy Chan (she/they) is the author of five poetry collections, including Return of the Chinese Femme (Deep Vellum, April 2024), BABE (Diode Editions, 2021), Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, 2019), Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018) and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). They were a 2023 finalist for the Roethke Poetry Award for Revenge of the Asian Woman, a 2022 finalist for the Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize from the New England Poetry Club for BABE, a 2020 and 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a 2020 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry for Revenge of the Asian Woman and a 2019 recipient of the Philip Freund Prize in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Chan is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and cofounder and editor-in-chief of Honey Literary Inc., a 501(c)(3) BIPOC literary arts organization. They were a 2022 recipient of the University of Wisconsin System's Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People.

Trace Howard DePass is the winner of the 2024 Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is the author of self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books, 2018) and BOOTless → (Diode Editions, 2024). His work has been featured by the Poetry Foundation, Ours PoeticaPoet Lore, NPR's the TakeawaySANDEntropy, Split This Rock, the Poetry Project, Bettering American Poetry and the Academy of American Poets‘ Poem-a-Day series. DePass is a fellow with Poets House, Obsidian, and Teachers & Writers.

Terrance Hayes is the author of seven poetry collections: So to Speak; American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin, a finalist for the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and TS Eliot Prize; How to Be DrawnLighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for poetry; Muscular Music, recipient of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; Hip Logic, winner of the 2001 National Poetry Series; and Wind in a Box. His prose collection, To Float In the Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. His new book of essays, Watch Your Language: Visual and Literary Reflections on a Century of American Poetry, was published by Penguin Random House last year. Hayes has received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation and Whiting Foundation and is a professor of English at New York University.