|Adrian Matejka reads from his upcoming volume The Big Smoke, April 19, St. Louis, MO.|
Not long after first meeting Adrian Matejka, we started having a conversation about poetry and Jack Johnson. Six or so years later, we're still conversing on those two topics. When Adrian and I first met, he had just started conceiving of a volume on the great heavyweight fighter. His book will officially be released in late May, though he did share an advanced reading copy of The Big Smoke with me.
Adrian put his Johnson project on hold at one point in other to finish his second book Mixology. Taking a little longer on The Big Smoke was perhaps for the best as it gave him more time to think on the subject, pursue more research on Jack Johnson, rework and revise poems, test versions of the poems out at public readings, and extend his networks of potential audiences.
One of the reasons I attended the event that Treasure Redmond hosted on Friday night in St. Louis was so that I could catch Adrian reading from The Big Smoke. His project is the first one that I've gotten to witness developing over the years from individual poems here and there to a finished volume of poetry. Adrian read "Battle Royal" and "IL Trovatore," the first poem and a closing poem, respectively, in the book and then he read from Mixology.
The reading was another step in the long march toward the publication of The Big Smoke, or perhaps toward something else in the process of extending the legacy and legend of Jack Johnson.
• Treasure Redmond hosts poetry reading in St. Louis
• Adrian Matejka