I’ve been wanting to get Adrian Matejka in a pairing since I came on board in 2013, and when Taylor mentioned he was hoping to get someone paired with Qunicy Troupe, I couldn’t believe our good fortune. Both poets compose incredibly musical verse lines, both often make music their subject matter – music not just as entertainment or a vehicle for celebrity, but music that connects deeply to the soul and is engaging in the forming and articulating of identities. Both poets are lyrical historians of a sort, examining both the communal past and their own personal pasts, often weaving these together, and employing wordplay, rhythm and the verse line’s internal resonances to wrestle meaning from within meaning. Hope is what often arises, even amidst the most tragic and sorrowful of narratives. Hope, and a reach for glory, a willingness to find glory everywhere. So I am beyond excited to see these two daring, deft writers converse, to see what resonances we’ll encounter when their work shares the same space. – John Paul Davis
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. A graduate of the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was subsequently nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His new collection, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), examines the life of the boxer Jack Johnson and is a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award. He is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Lannan Foundation. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 2010, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, and Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. He teaches creative writing and literature at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Quincy Troupe is an awarding-winning author of ten volumes of poetry, three children’s books, and six non-fiction works; Earl the Pearl: My Story, a memoir of legendary NY Knicks basketball star, Earl Monroe, (Rodale, April 2013) is Troupe’s newest non-fiction work. In 2010 Troupe received the American Book Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement. Among Troupe’s best-selling works are Miles: The Autobiography of Miles Davis and his memoir, Miles & Me soon to become a major motion picture.
Other notable works are The Pursuit of Happyness, an autobiography with written with Chris Gardner that became a major motion picture and that was a New York Times bestseller for over 40 weeks; The Architecture of Language, a book of poems, that won the 2007 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, and Transcircularities: New and Selected Poems, which won the 2003 Milt Kessler Poetry Award and was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best books of poetry in 2002.
Errançities is his most recent book of poetry. A new children’s book, Hallelujah: The Story of Ray Charles with illustrations by Brian Pinkney, will be published by Disney/Hyperion.
Quincy Troupe is professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego, and editor of Black Renaissance Noire, a literary journal of the Institute of Africana Studies at New York University.