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Somebody Else Sold The World


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About the Author

Adrian Matejka's most recent collection of poetry is Map to the Stars. His other books are The Big Smoke, which was the winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a finalist for both the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize; Mixology, which was selected for the National Poetry Series; and The Devil's Garden (Alice James Books, 2003), winner of the New York / New England Award. Among Matejka's other honors are fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and United States Artists. He served as Poet Laureate of the state of Indiana in 2018-19 and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Advance praise for Somebody Else Sold the World:

"With tenderness and intimacy, Somebody Else Sold the World highlights what has been lost, what might be recoverable, in these 'wrong-noted' days . . . what Matejka gets fascinatingly right is how the speakers in Somebody Else Sold the World balance anxieties of care against nostalgia and just how aware they are of feeling lost within the present, of being out-of-time . . . Matejka's command of melody and prosody is striking, especially in combination with the offbeat moments of humor and surrealism that strengthen the collection. What results is a kind of song that captures both lightness and heaviness of the current moment. Refusing the appeal of an uncomplicated cathartic release, Somebody Else insists on vulnerability, on admitting what has gone wrong, while acknowledging the difficulties in wrestling with 'what comes after" the selling of our world.'" -Poetry Foundation

"Soulful, sonorous poems about romance, fatherhood, and other forms of intimacy. Matejka sings a blues of loss and longing but resists despair as a foregone conclusion, identifying potential for harmony even in sources of harm." -The New Yorker

"Matejka's up-to-the-minute collection, his fifth, turns to poetry as a way to process the sometimes surreal disruptions of the pandemic, when people wore "Different / kinds of masks for being & breathing."" -The New York Times Book Review

"No poem exists in a vacuum, just like no person does. This collection uses elements like love notes, gossip, even pop music to illuminate the ways we remain connected, even amidst revolution and isolation." -Good Housekeeping

"Matejka delivers a cathartic ode to a tumultuous year of disease and unrest in his thoughtful latest. Vignettes of looming disease and nature's indifference to human suffering are rendered in their full complexity . . . Matejka masterfully combines grief and hope . . . music serves as an impetus for these accomplished pages that subtly convey the whiplash of everyday life." -Publishers Weekly

"With blazing virtuosity, Matejka returns in prime form for a wildly syncopated romp-ballasted with earth and music and bombast-serving all the right notes. These poems slyly sit at the intersection of revelation and delicious formal audacity, 'magnificent & stark inside the addendum, like a big breath exhaled through the best part of a question mark.'" -Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

"Adrian Matejka's muscular and mellifluous soundtrack is a savvy directive that reminds us that even chaos has a rhythm you can dance to. With a masterful ear for lyric and eye for the detail that jolts and surprises, the poet adroitly reintroduces us to a world where a simple breath was never too much-here are reminders of love's fractured mechanics, the heart-rending frailty of fathers, that twinge in the belly at the first downbeat of that song. Matejka even manages to dismantle that wee icon of violence-the bullet-until it is bared of its sin, its ability to end every story it enters. In Somebody Else Sold the World, we revisit the life we were living before the life we're scarcely living now." -Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art

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