National Book Award poet finalist Adrian Matejka will read selections from his popular books during a public reading session beginning at 4:20 p.m. on Monday.
The free event will take place in the Louise Kahn Room of the Hulman Union at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Matejka’s book, “The Big Smoke,” features poems about history-making heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. This work is currently on the short list for the 2013 National Book Award.
“[Matejka] assays a figure bigger than life, and we see a legend shaped by American history — heroic and antiheroic — that is humanized by moments of poetic exhilaration as well as downfall,” said Yusef Komunyakaa, author of “The Chameleon Couch.” “This poet’s Jack Johnson is made of sweat, blood and vulnerability. Unadorned and honed, the poems in ‘The Big Smoke’ are seasoned with easeful authority but jaunty as the Eagle Rock.”
Matejka also wrote “Mixology,” a collection of poems exploring ideas of race, skin politics, appropriation and cultural identity. The book was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His first book, “The Devil’s Garden,” won the 2002 New York/New England Award from Alice James Books.
A creative writing professor at Indiana University, Matejka received 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 and Poetry, among other journals and anthologies.
This special reading is being presented with support from Rose-Hulman’s department of humanities and social sciences and its Elsie B. Pawley Fund, along with Rose-Hulman’s Ink literary magazine.