Biography of Adrian Matejka
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. He earned his BA from Indiana University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
His first collection of poems, The Devil’s Garden (2003), won the 2002 New York / New England Award. His second collection, Mixology (2009), was a winner of the National Poetry Series. Mixology was a finalist for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. The Big Smoke (2013), which focuses on the life of the boxer Jack Johnson, was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book is Map to the Stars (2017).
Matejka is the recipient of fellowships the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lannan Foundation. He teaches creative writing at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Adrian Matejka Poems
—after "Trumpet," Jean-Michel Basquiat the broken sprawl & crawl of Basquiat's paints, the thin cleft
Strange Celestial Roads
There's a father sleeping it off in every master bedroom of the cul-de-sac the morning after, so Saturday morning is a snooze. The moon is still out, eyeballing the quiet street like Sun Ra did his Arkestra. Somebody
Central Avenue Beach
—Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 2016 1. Just off of Highway 12, Sandburg's signature of time & eternity: the muggy marshes
In 1981, Eris's spacious face hadn't been discovered yet, my mother hadn't taken a day off from Fort Ben yet, & Pluto was still a planet. One of nine celestial bodies snapped into drummed orbits around the Sun
if there was ever a chance to go to outer space, it wasn't here & it wasn't for me, as off balance on this distant planet as a buster getting a mouthful of knuckles. If there was a possibility of making it
Soave Sia Il Vento
after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart In the wobbly pirouette between song & dust, dog-nosed living room windows & a purple couch that should have been curbed
The first space shuttle launch got delayed until Sunday, so we had to watch the shuttle's return to Earth in class instead—PS113's paunchy black & white rolled in, the antennae on top adjusted
Map to the Stars
A Schwinn-ride away: Eagledale Plaza. Shopping strip of busted walkways, crooked parking spaces nicked like the lines on the sides of somebody's mom-barbered head. Anchored by the Piccadilly disco, where a shootout was guaranteed every
Illinois Abe Lincoln's Hat
blacks painted onto bricks & split vinyl on the East Side, jaws as tight as window locks with the curtains drawn & behind that diligent fabric: blacks already tucked into homemade forts—folding chairs, wobbly backbones
"Gymnopédies No. 3"
This sunlight on snow. This decrescendo of covered stumps & brush — stop for it.
"Gymnopédies No. 2"
In nyc, we stalked fishes in filets of sounds: delivery engines & ashy doors
"Gymnopédies No. 1"
That was the week it didn't stop snowing. That was the week five-fingered trees fell
I lied when Pops asked, but I'll admit it now. I did touch the blue egg to see if, somehow, it felt as much like the sky as it looked. The egg: speckled in its twiggy nest, eye level to 8-year-olds, perfect & off-limits like the Baoding balls on Pops' desk. We tried to find its mom, but the finches scattered when we came near. One twittered the alarm from a
End of Side A
It ends because the beginning won't jumpstart again: red smudge of a mouth, lipstick everywhere the afterthought a comet leaves on its way out. What makes this moment unfold like a fine
End of Side A
It ends because the beginning won't jumpstart
again: red smudge of a mouth, lipstick everywhere
the afterthought a comet leaves on its way
out. What makes this moment unfold like a fine
woman raising herself up from the bathroom floor?
Honky-tonk in the honeyed brown of an eyeball?