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An Interview With Former USA National Poetry Series Winner Adrian Matejka [Culturelicious]

By Guest Contributor Jorge Antonio Vallejos, cross-posted from Black Coffee Poet

Adrian Matejka is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003), Mixology (Penguin USA, 2009), and The Big Smoke (Penguin USA, forthcoming in 2013).

His work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry ReviewPloughshares, and Poetry among other journals and anthologies. You can find him at www.adrianmatejka.com or on Twitter.

BCP: Why poetry?

AM: I first tried to write poetry in a lame attempt to impress a girl, but my appreciation for language came before that. I wanted to be an emcee when I was younger. Fortunately, for everyone, I figured out pretty quickly that I couldn’t spit rhymes and moved on to the next thing.

A few years after I gave up the mic, I discovered some poets who value sound and percussiveness the same way emcees do. First, Langston Hughes and Etheridge Knight. Then later, Gil Scott-Heron and Yusef Komunyakaa. Through these incredible poets, it became clear that poetry is an art that allows both music and communication. Once I figured that out, I never wanted to do anything else.

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