Competition: US & Canada
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and grew up in California and Indiana. He is a graduate of the M.F.A. program at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and his books include The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003), winner of the 2002 New York/New England Award, and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Matejka’s most recent collection, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), examines the life of Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion, and was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. The Big Smoke was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award.
Matejka is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, and Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. He teaches creative writing and English literature at Indiana University and lives in Bloomington with his wife, poet Stacey Lynn Brown, and their daughter.
Matejka’s Guggenheim project is a collection of poems that interrogates race through the lens of astronomy. He is also working on a graphic project about Jack Johnson and a graphic novel about hip-hop culture in the late 1980s.
Profile photo by Taylor Cincotta
An interview and video of Adrian Matejka reading on the National Book Foundation website
A video interview from the NBAs, Adrian Matejka discusses his last book and current project