The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has chosen Adrian Matejka to receive a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship grant for poetry.
Matejka, a faculty member in our MFA in Creative Writing program, received news of the fellowship while visiting a South Carolinian college built on a former plantation.
“The history of oppression was all around us even as the generous students and faculty pushed back against that history in support of poetry,” he said in a statement from the NEA about the award.
Their resistance was an inspiration to Matejka, who said it’s been difficult to write, challenge oppression and carry on with day-to-day life in the current political climate.
During a time of “blowhard politics, flag-waving racism and aggressive suppression,” Matejka said the fellowship will afford him time and financial space to create.
“It enables the kind of uninterrupted protest in which I hope to immerse into fully and boldly,” said Matejka, who has been teaching at Lesley since 2015.
Matejka is the author of “Map to the Stars,” “The Big Smoke,” “Mixology” and “The Devil's Garden.” He is also the current Indiana Poet Laureate.
The NEA announced 35 fellowships in its initial round of grants for the 2019 fiscal year. Nearly 1,700 eligible applications were received and reviewed anonymously by a panel, resulting in a group of recipients from across the country, diverse in ethnicity and background. None of the 2019 recipients have previously received an NEA fellowship.