BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana's next poet laureate is an Indiana University professor who was born in Germany and grew up in California and Indiana.

The Indiana Arts Commission says Adrian Matejka (mah-TEE'-kuh) will begin his two-year term as Indiana's poet laureate on Jan. 1, helping to promote poetry across the state. He'll succeed current poet laureate Shari Wagner.

Matejka is a professor and poet-in-residence at Indiana University-Bloomington. He's written several books and is currently working on a new poetry collection and a graphic novel.

The graduate of Pike High School in Indianapolis says poetry is needed now more than ever "to remind us of the beauty that still surrounds us despite all of the seemingly unending anger and strife."

Matejka's third poetry collection, "The Big Smoke" was a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist.