About 6 or so months ago I found myself at the Art Amok Poetry Slam in Atlanta Ga. It was the Dead Poets slam and the idea for one of the rounds to recite a poem from a dead poet. There was a small turn out, which actually turned into a good thing. It was an awesome night, because we had an opportunity to go around the room and just read new things we were working on. Once all of the poets in the room spit some new material Karen G, asked if anyone else had anything they wanted to read, and thats when Shyla Hardwick put me on to Adrian Matejka in a big way! This book of poetry and prose is an amazing journey through the life of Jack Johnson in and out of the ring, after hearing Shyla read from it I picked it up a few weeks later and have since shared it with several other poets.
Adrian Matejka (born in Nuremberg, Germany) is an African-American poet. He graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with an MFA in Creative Writing. He has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Workshop, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. His most recent book of poetry, The Big Smoke, was published by Penguin in 2013 and is about Jack Johnson. It was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His work has appeared in literary journals and magazines including American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and in anthologies including From the Fishouse (Persea Books, 2009) and The Best American Poetry 2010 (Scribner, 2010). He teaches literature and creative writing at Indiana University. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his wife, poet Stacey Lynn Brown, and their daughter.
I mentioned in my post about Junot Diaz the concept of wanting to see more of my contemporaries crushing this format. I mentioned about the earth shattering work some of my peers could do if they stepped outside of slam sometimes and just wrote with no structure or limits (some of them already are to great sucess).
I believe that if we keep engaging with each other and keep pushing each other, along side killing it in a slam, we will all be pushing our latest manuscript, short films, screenplays, etc…Eternal Graffiti is determined to keep everyone in the loop on the successes of each other – one of the mantras we have adopted, and one that you will hear me say all the time is A rising tide lifts all boats…lets continue to create different and weird and innovate our space and collectively see what comes of it.
Back to Adrian, in the video below he takes about the book in a reading put together by the New School in NYC. I personally recomend this amazing book by this dope writer.