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NewsMay 5, 2022

Adrian Matejka named first Black editor of ‘Poetry’ magazine

Creative Writing professor joins ‘vital literary institution’

Adrian Matejka author photo
Photo by Polina Osherov

Lesley Creative Writing faculty Adrian Matejka is the new editor of “Poetry” magazine. Matejka, who begins the role on May 16, is the first Black editor in the publication's nearly 110-year history. He was selected through a national search.

“I couldn't be more humbled or excited to be the new editor ofPoetry,’” Matejka said in a statement from the Poetry Foundation. “The 19-year-old version of me, thumbing through the magazine’s pages with wonder, would have never imagined that he would one day be part of such a vital literary institution.”

In his new role, Matejka says he will endeavor to continue the work already being done at the publication to make it more “inclusive and innovative,” which melds with his expansive view of poetry.

“Poetry is the most egalitarian of all the arts in practice,” he says. “It’s inexpensive to create and equally inexpensive to share. Because of that, poetry can empower people in ways no other art is capable of. It can give a voice to — or rather, amplify the voices of—people who were not previously being listened to.”

Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He served as poet laureate of his home state from 2018-19 and has taught poetry at several universities, including Lesley’s MFA in Creative Writing program.

The poet’s work and published collections have been met with acclaim and awards. “Mixology” won the National Poetry Series, “The Big Smoke” was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and “Somebody Else Sold the World,” was a finalist for the 2022 University of North Texas Rilke Prize. His first graphic novel, “Last On His Feet,” will be published in 2023 by Liveright.

Matejka also has a number of honors to his name, including a Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Julia Peterkin Award, as well as fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Adrian Matejka as the new editor of ‘Poetry,’” said Michelle T. Boone, Poetry Foundation president. “As an accomplished poet, educator, and past poet laureate, Adrian brings invaluable talent and experience. We look forward to his leadership and collaboration with the team to share new poets and poetry with the world.”