Indiana University assistant professor and poet Adrian Matejka will be part of the 75th IU Writers’ Conference faculty 20 years after taking part in the conference as an undergraduate student attendee in 1994-1995.
“It’s meant a great deal to my development as a writer,” Matejka said of the conference. “I got the great opportunity to study with Thomas Lux, who won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and Martin Espada, who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Each of them taught me something that I would have never gotten to about poetry and about the writing life.”
Matejka’s first collection of poems, “The Devil’s Garden,” won the 2002 New York/New England Award from Alice James Books. His second collection, “Mixology,” was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series and was published by Penguin Books in 2009. "Mixology" was a finalist for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature – Poetry. His most recent book, “The Big Smoke,” was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, the 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He is a winner of the Julia Peterkin Award and recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lannan Foundation.
“I can’t believe that there have been 75 of these,” Matejka said. “I keep thinking about the magnitude of that, the history of this program. I am so lucky to get to teach in it, and I hope to give a little bit back of what I got.”