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Tag Archives: Adrian Matejka

Cleveland-Area Students Get A Dose Of Anisfield-Wolf Poetry, Craft Their Own Verses (Listen In!)

Students from two Cleveland-area schools and one community center gathered for a poetry slam this April.National Poetry Month, celebrated every April for the past 20 years, became a little less abstract for Cleveland students this spring. This year the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards embedded local graduate students in two Cleveland-area elementary schools and a community center for an eight-week poetry residency.  Ryan Lind, Ali McClain, Karly Milvet, and Amanda Stovicek -- all students in the NEOMFA creative writing consortium -- drew inspiration from the Anisfield-Wolf canon in crafting their lessons, sampling Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton and Langston Hughes, as well as recent winners Adrian Matejka and Jericho Brown. Stovicek taught fourth and fifth-graders at Urban Community School... Read More →

READ: Adrian Matejka’s New Jean-Michel Basquiat-Inspired Poem, “& Later,”

Take a look at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s mesmerizing 1984 painting “Trumpet.” It inspired a new poem from Adrian Matejka that he calls “& Later,” Matejka won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award last year for “The Big Smoke,” his Jack Johnson-infused collection. Now the Indiana University professor is putting together a new book called “Collectable Blacks.” “I get caught up easily in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings, especially his work focusing on boxers and jazz,” Matejka said. “His painting from 1984, ‘Trumpet,’ cracked open a tense holiday moment from my childhood. I don’t remember any actual trumpets at that holiday fracas, but Basquiat’s lines and pigments always seem to create unexpected opportunities for improvisation and meditation.” Matejka made... Read More →

VIDEO: Adrian Matejka On Winning The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award For Poetry

Adrian Matejka's “The Big Smoke” is a nuanced, polyphonic book that explores the life of boxer Jack Johnson, the first African- American heavyweight world champion. A fan of the sport, Matejka was moved by this son of emancipated slaves – born in Texas just 13 years after the end of the Civil War – who loved Shakespeare, Verdi’s operas, travel abroad and a series of white women. The Big Smoke follows Johnson until 1912 in 52 poems. Matejka spent eight years researching and writing this book. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington.   We caught up with Matejka in a few quiet moments before this year's ceremony to hear his thoughts on being honored with the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for poetry:  Adrian Matejka, Winner of The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Award for Poetry... Read More →

Adrian Matejka’s Poetry Hits The Canvas At Cleveland’s Old Angle Boxing Gym

Adrian Matejka reads from The Big Smoke at Cleveland's Old Angle boxing gym, September 10 | Photo Credit: Ryan Brady-Toomey Faded fight posters on the walls at Cleveland's Old Angle boxing gym served as an authentic backdrop for the poetry of Adrian Matejka, 2014 winner of an Anisfield-Wolf book award. Matejka's 52-poem collection, "The Big Smoke," centers on Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion, who earned the crown in 1908. Gym owner Gary Horwitz rearranged his gym and his week to host. Dave Lucas, a founder of the "Brews & Prose" literary series, canceled his September plans and moved his audience from the Market Garden Brewery down W. 25th St. to the gym. The night featured Matejka’s reading, two live boxing demonstrations, and dollar bratwurst. Clad in... Read More →

Explore 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Award Winning Titles At Cleveland Public Library’s Brown Bag Book Club

On the cusp of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony, join awards manager Karen R. Long for a personal introduction to the titles being honored this year. Long will offer a speed date with each book, and an introduction to the Lifetime Achievement winners on Wednesday, September 3 at noon. Her presentation will kick off this fall’s Brown Bag Book Club at the Cleveland Public Library downtown. In subsequent weeks, the series will then break out to examine each of the 2014 award-winning books in turn. Beginning Wednesday, September 10, readers will gather at noon with expert librarians to consider the poetry, novel and nonfiction works in the spotlight this year:   The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka Wednesday, September 10 A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra... Read More →

Poet Adrian Matejka Comes To Cleveland Boxing Gym For “The Big Smoke” Reading

Poet Adrian Matejka mixed his love of boxing with his love of literature to produce “The Big Smoke,” 52 poems that center on Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion. The collection won this year’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. On September 10, Matejka will bring his words to the Cleveland canvas of the Old Angle Boxing Gym while boxer Roberto Cruz, 11, and Corey Gregory, 42, will each demonstrate the sweet science in separate demonstration bouts. We are proud to collaborate with Old Angle owner Gary Horvath and Dave Lucas of Brews + Prose to welcome the Clark Avenue neighborhood, the boxing community and local literati for a memorable night of sport and poetry. The evening begins at 7 p.m. and is... Read More →
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