Arts Commission Names Poet Laureate

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(photo courtesy Stephen Sproll) (photo courtesy Stephen Sproll)
INDIANAPOLIS -

The Indiana Arts Commission has selected Adrian Matejka of Bloomington as the new Indiana State Poet Laureate. Matejka, who currently serves as the Ruth Lilly Professor and Poet-in-Residence at Indiana University, will begin his two-year term in January.

Matejka succeeds current Poet Laureate Shari Wagner. He is a graduate of Pike High School in Indianapolis and IU Bloomington. Among his accomplishments, Matejka's third collection of poems, "The Big Smoke," was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. 

"It is an unbelievable honor to be selected as the sixth Poet Laureate of Indiana and to have the opportunity to give back to the great state that has given me so much," Matejka said in a news release. "I can't imagine Mr. Dickerson and Mr. Morwick, the teachers who first encouraged me to write back at Pike High School, could have foreseen that their generosity and support would lead me to this incomparable distinction. I'm so grateful for them and for all of the teachers, friends, family, organizations, and readers who have supported my work over the years. I hope that I'll be able to continue the traditions of poetic celebration and outreach established by our previous Poets Laureate while also bringing some new community initiatives to the position. Right now, more than ever, we need poetry to remind us of the beauty that still surrounds us despite all of the seemingly unending anger and strife."

Matejka is currently working on a new collection of poems, titled "Hearing Damage," as well as a graphic novel. Stephanie Haines with the IAC says Matejka is "an exceptional poet who will be an excellent ambassador for the art of poetry in our state."

Indiana's Poet Laureate program was created with the goal of advancing the knowledge and appreciation of poetry throughout the state. The state's poets laureate are chosen by a committee of representatives from higher education institutions in Indiana.

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