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Map to the Stars

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A resonant new collection of poetry from Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke, a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award

Map to the Stars, the fourth poetry collection from National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Adrian Matejka, navigates the tensions between race, geography, and poverty in America during the Reagan Era. In the time of space
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Penguin Books
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Danny Caine
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Adrian Matejka’s Map to the Stars could share a tagline with the state of Kansas: ad astra per aspera, to the stars through difficulty. The dazzling poetry collection, Matejka’s fourth, finds a young black boy, first in urban Indianapolis and then in an unnamed suburb, longing to escape his difficult circumstances into the cosmos. That longed-for but never-arriving escape always takes many celestial forms, from Parliament/Funkadelic’s Mothership to America’s first black astronaut Guion Bluford, ...more
Craig Werner
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kind of how you might imagine Langston Hughes if his musical points of reference had been P-Funk, Sun Ra and EPMD with a little bit of disco echoing around and Fleetwood Mac competing with Prince once the (I'm assuming autobiographical) persona moves to the Indianapolis suburbs. Matejka's feet are firmly on the ground of the basketball courts and sidewalks of Indy (except when he gets run off the road on his bike by a racist driver or gets whipped upside the head by a cop). But he's always ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I loved the way that this collection weaves the terrestrial with the celestial, pairing concepts of space with the more political boundaries of poverty, race, and interactions with other humans. Being the space nerd that I am, I'd have loved to see more of the cosmic, but I also recognize that isn't necessarily what this collection is trying to accomplish. The title poem, "Map to the Stars" can punch me in the face for the rest of my life, though, wow is that an amazing (stellar? har har) poem.
Sarah Lain
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a profound lesson in motif. Significant historical figures emerge throughout the text, as does the theme of poverty. Poverty is juxtaposed with the constant looking up and out toward celestial possibilities. Essential reading for understanding real historical and emotional context of America. Also: this text is music. It demands to be read aloud, the sounds genuinely taken in-- and heard.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this collection a lot more interested in biography than poetry-- a lot about the seventies, the space program, being black in Indiana. But not a whole lot more than that, even to the point of not quite making a case for why the elements of the poet's life are significant beyond their status as facts. It's not a bad book, and it's probably a pretty light read if you're wary of poetry. But it lacked the kind of fireworks I was hoping for.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, poetry
Maggie Fulmer
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is complex.

But really really really good.

Let out a few audible gasps over some lines. See for yourself.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: gr-giveaway, poetry
3.5! review soon
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I posted my review on American Microreviews & Interviews. This guy is a super poet.
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Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany but grew up in California and Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His first collection of poems, The Devils Garden, won the 2002 Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books. His second collection, Mixology, was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series and was published by ...more