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Charles Matz

Charles Matz

B.A., Rutgers UniversityM.A., Columbia UniversityPh.D., Notre Dame University

Description

Even as a young man, Matz was interested enough in the Middle Ages to become a member of the Mediaeval Academy of America following the activities of the scholars associated with that group through their publication Speculum. The undergraduate studies of Matz were interrupted by his military service in World War II. After receiving his BA from Rutgers University, Matz lived in Paris and studied at the Sorbonne, working with Gustave Cohen, who had brought new life to the performance of medieval drama in France even before the war. On returning to the USA, Matz studied with Roger Sherman Loomis, scholar of Arthurian legend, at Columbia University where he continued his medieval interests. Following a period of work in the publishing business and having himself published a novel, Legend of Madeleine, Matz collaborated as iconographer with the stained glass artist Rowan LeCompte for the realization of most of the nave windows in the newly constructed Washington Cathedral. In the late 60s, Matz developed an opera libretto based on Norman Mailer's American Dream. Matz returned to academic life at the University of Notre Dame, where his interests centered on Recusant literature. Matz again lived in Europe for an extended period, in Paris, in London, where he worked as a presenter for the BBC Third Programme, and in Italy, in Venice, neighbor and acquaintance of Ezra Pound, Peggy Guggenheim, and Gian Carlo Menotti, and where he taught at the Istituto Universitario delle Lingue Moderne, at its Feltre campus, while participating in the avant-garde literary activities in other Italian universities, like Padua, Pavia, Venice, and galleries in Rome, Milan, Bologna, often with the collaboration of Italian painters like Yasmin Brandolini and poets like Andrea Zanzotto. Matz created a contemporary form of multi-lingual oral poetry, based in part on traditional forms from the European Mediterranean area and Africa: Performance, and Humility Poems. This oral poetry mutated in turn to performance events, then to poetic theater, and finally in the last decade to music theater. Performances of these pieces, including Antonin Artaud, Columbus, the Moor; The City of the Sun; Jux mit Fuchs; and The New Generation have been given in Italy, Spain, Poland, the UK, and the USA. Poetry and extended pieces of Matz have been set to music by several European, Canadian and American composers, including David Ryder, Antonio Segafreddo, Paolo Furlani, Thomas Deszy, Carlos Nicolau, Ernesto Ferreri, Daniel Koontz, and Daniel Foley. These songs have been widely sung in concerts of contemporary music in Europe and in America. In the 1960s Matz founded a group now called The CAM Art Company, now directed by Antonio Lai da Teulada, creating new approaches to theater, cinema, video, music, and dance. Matz contributed articles on contemporary artistic concepts to Opera News, Vogue, Testuale, and Digraphe-Mercure de France. At Long Island University, Southampton College, Matz taught Comparative European Literature, Italian Language, Dante, Utopian Literature, Prosody, Contemporary English Language Fiction, Modern British and American Poetry, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound.

Specialties

Dante, Comparative Western Literature (chiefly Italian and French)

Publications

  • “City Secrets.” In Florence, Venice & the Towns of Italy, edited by R. Kahn.
  • Italian Ghost Towns: The Nuraghe of Sardinia. NY: The Little Bookroom, 2001.
  • Colón el Moro (Spanish version of Columbus the Moor), with illustrations by Antonio Lai. Translation by Ana Jorda. The Rachael Press: Las Vegas, 1992.
  • "Interjection on the Name of Edward Lear." In The Apparent Death of Things, by Antono Lai. Las Vegas: The Rachael Press,1992.
  • “Litoral, revista de la poesia y el pensamiento.” Introductions of individual poets and critical essay by Matz. Translation by Ana Jorda. Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry. Spain: Spanish Malaga, 1992.
  • Columbus the Moor (Poetic performance text, with paintings and computer graphic illustrations by Antonio Lai, all reproduced in color. Las Vegas: The Rachael Press, 1990.
  • "Vittorio Alfieri et la Révolution Française" in Révue Europe, Paris, France, 1988.
  • "On the Economics of Poetry" in Testuale. Milano, Italy: 1988.
  • "Le Déchirement d'un Poète" in Digraphe, Mercure de France. Paris: Gallimard, 1988
  • "New Poems" in Address. NY: Alan Jones, 1987.
  • "Video Poetry" in Testuale. Milano, Italy: 1984.

Honors/Awards

  • Recipient, Chevalier, Legion D'Honneur (France's highest honor)

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