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Adrian Matejka is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of English at IU Bloomington. His poetry collection "The Big Smoke" (Penguin Poets/Penguin Group USA, 2013) was also a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, won the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Prize and was shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry last fall.
This is Matejka's third published poetry collection, after "The Devil's Garden," winner of the 2002 New York/New England Award from Alice James Books, and "Mixology," which won the 2008 National Poetry Series and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. All three collections touch in some way on fundamental questions about race, masculinity and family, each in vastly different ways. Mixology explores "otherness" through hip-hop-style sampling, while "The Devil's Garden" juxtaposes history and autobiography through Matejka's own tri-racial identity.
After graduating from IU Bloomington in 1995 with a double major in English and psychology, Matejka went on to earn his MFA at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He returned to Bloomington to teach as a visiting faculty member in 2012 and was offered an assistant professor position in the spring of 2013. He teaches courses in creative writing and English literature, including "Poetics of Rap," a topics course that investigates American rap through a poetic lens. The class is offered through the Department of English.
Matejka is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Lannan Foundation. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 2010, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, Poetry and Prairie Schooner, among other journals and anthologies.