Poetry Foundation welcomes people back to their building

Adrian Matejka, Editor of Poetry Magazine, and Michelle Boone, President of the Poetry Foundation at the Poetry Foundation’s Open House. Photo provided by Flowers Communications Group.
Adrian Matejka, Editor of Poetry Magazine, and Michelle Boone, President of the Poetry Foundation at the Poetry Foundation’s Open House. Photo provided by Flowers Communications Group.

 Poetry Foundation welcomes people back to their building

By Tia Carol Jones
The Poetry Foundation, located at 61 W. Superior, opened it doors to the public for the first time since the pandemic on Tuesday, June 14th. It was an opportunity for people to meet Adrian Matejka, the new editor of Poetry Magazine.


Michelle Boone, president of Poetry Foundation, said the organization has been thinking about the role of the foundation and how it can be more of a resource.  It is a partner, and collaborator with the cultural and poetry community, in Chicago and across the country. The foundation also has been thinking about Poetry Magazine and making sure it is reflective of the broad range of poetic forms and style that exist. Beyond the magazine, the foundation has lots of points of entry into poetry, whether it is through its virtual or in-person programs, or the comprehensive website, which is a resource to access poets and poetry, as well as the on-site library, which has a large collection of poetry books.


Boone wants people also to come to the location, which she describes as an architectural gem, to participate in the programs the foundation presents and hosts. Boone has served as president of The Poetry Foundation since May 2021. She said it has really been a gift to have the luxury to read poetry every day.


Boone as president of the Poetry Foundation and Matejka as editor of Poetry Magazine represent Black leadership within the organization. Matejka is the first Black editor to lead Poetry Magazine in the publications more than 100-year history.


The Poetry Magazine was without a formal editor for nearly two years. During that time, it was edited by interim co-editors and guest editors, including, Esther Berlin, Su Cho, Suzi F. Garcia, Ashley M. Jones and Srikenth “Chicu” Reddy.


Matejka was chosen after a nine-month search for editor of Poetry Magazine. He is a poet, author and educator.


Boone said she believed Matejka has traits that will make him a new voice for Poetry Magazine and its future moving forward. He was a professor at Indiana University for 10 years and at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for six years. He served as the Poet laureate of the State of Indiana from 2018 to 2019.


Matejka has written “The Devil’s Garden,” “Mixology,” “The Big Smoke,” “Map to the Stars,” “Standing on the Verge & Maggot Brain” and “Somebody Else Sold the World.” A graphic novel “Last on His Feet” is set to be published in 2023.


“I am grateful to be here. I am grateful for Michelle’s vision and the vision of the editorial staff and staff of the library. There’s so many people here doing work that honors poetry. I can’t imagine a better space to be in or a better team to do this work with,” Matejka said.


Matejka’s first issue of Poetry Magazine will be the 110th Anniversary issue.

For more information about The Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine, visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

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