Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His first collection of poems, The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003), won the 2002 New York / New England Award. His second collection, Mixology (Penguin, 2009), was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was also a finalist for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His most recent collection of poems, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), focuses on the life of the prize fighter Jack Johnson and was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. The Big Smoke was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and 2014 Pulitzer Prize. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Julia Peterkin Award, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, two grants from the Illinois Arts Council, and fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. He is the Lilly Professor/Poet-in-Residence at Indiana University in Bloomington and is working on a new collection of poems and a graphic novel.
Portrait photo by Michelle Litvin.