Adrian Matejka


"This collection covers a lot of ground, and Map to the Stars covers an ever-expanding emotional landscape."

— Lizzy Petersen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Matejka offers as a mirror-world the ’80s craze for space exploration. This was the era of the Voyager II space mission and “Star Trek” reruns; the "final frontier" represents all the lies beyond the city’s limits and limitations, including the promise of prosperity in the suburbs." 

— Craig Morgan Teicher in The Los Angeles Times

"In his stellar fourth collection, Matejka evokes an Indianapolis boyhood in which economic and educational privations starkly contrast with the inspiring expanses of outer space. Newly identified planets, space shuttle launches, Star Trek, and Voyager probes encountered via radio, TV, and newspaper here become poignant emblems of escape."

Publisher's Weekly

"Mr. Matejka can write. And Map to the Stars is probably Matejka’s most intimate portrayal of himself yet. The references often intone popular culture, albeit of the eighties and nineties, elongating into complicated metaphorical image-systems. Matejka has built a beautiful book that is organized in vignettes, focused on staring into the sky with Adidas firmly grounded on terra firma."

— David Tomas Martinez, Harriet Blog, The Poetry Foundation

"Adrian Matejka's fourth book is a coming-of-age collage set in Reagan-era Indianapolis, a series of intimate verbal snapshots of African American youth and family life. The speaker of these poems is caught between lonesome artifacts of the past — 15 cent disco t-shirts, fathers lost in Vietnam, Sun Ra's jazz from space, Star Trek reruns — and hopeful, strange, and complicated glimpses of possible futures — images from Voyager II, the paintings of Basquiat, burgeoning DJ culture. Matejka swirls these seemingly disparate parts into a stunningly coherent vision of life in the 1980s, growing up poor and black and full of energy and longing."

—Craig Morgan Teicher, "Poetry To Pay Attention To: A Preview Of 2017's Best Verse," NPR

"Matejka’s Mixology (2013) was a National Poetry Series winner, while The Big Smoke (2014) claimed the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. All of which suggests that this revisioning of race and geography, poverty and fierce, exalted escape in Reagan’s America is a book to read."

—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal