Indiana Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka

The Indiana Poet Laureate represents the state and the art of poetry through the development and implementation of programming to the educational community and general public. Making formal presentations at various educational facilities and events, the State Poet Laureate pursues individual initiatives to advance the knowledge and appreciation of poetry throughout the state, and offers advice to the Commission regarding ways to further the art of poetry in Indiana. 

The Selection Process and Enacting Legislation
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Indiana Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka

Adrian Matejka (Mah-TEE-kuh) was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was also a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His third collection, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), focuses on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. The Big Smoke was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and 2014 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His most recent book, Map to the Stars, was published by Penguin in 2017. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, the Julia Peterkin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He teaches in the MFA program at Indiana University in Bloomington and is the Poet Laureate of Indiana. 

"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. 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."

–Adrian Matejka, Poet Laureate, State of Indiana
"Adrian Matejka is an exceptional poet who will be an excellent ambassador for the art of poetry in our state. The Indiana Arts Commission looks forward to supporting his work connecting with communities across the state during his term as Indiana Poet Laureate."

–Stephanie Haines, Arts Education and Accessibility Manager, Indiana Arts Commission

Former Poets Laureate

Please note: In 2012 the Indiana Poet Laureate started serving a calendar year, two-year term.

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For information regarding the Indiana Poet Laureate please contact Stephanie Haines, shaines@iac.IN.gov, (317) 232-1274.

Photo by Stephen Sproll.