COLUMN SEVENTY-SIX, OCTOBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
(Photo by Gerald Nicosia)
EARLY BEAT POET
MARTY MATZ IS DEAD
poet Marty Matz died of leukemia in New York City on October 28, 2001. Born in Brooklyn, Matz had grown up in Nebraska and served in
the military during the Korean War. In
1957 he came to San Francisco and quickly fell in with the Beat group in North
Beach, becoming friends with Jack Kerouac, Philip Lamantia, and Bob Kaufman.
Marty's own poetry contained aspects of all of them---a combination of
surrealism, black humor, and Beat personal narrative, but in an elegant style
that was all his own. Marty took
his craft very seriously, though his output was not large.
His best-known books are TIME WAITS: SELECTED POEMS (JMF
Publishing, 1987) and PIPE DREAMS (1989). He especially liked reading his
works with a musical backup, sometimes jazz and sometimes Indian music, and
before his death he recorded a CD of his poetry backed up by a sitar, harmonium,
and other instruments--called A SKY OF FRACTURED FEATHERS.
was a world traveler. He left North
Beach for Mexico and South America, where he spent a good part of the Sixties
and Seventies. Arrested for
carrying drugs, he spent four years in Mexico City's horrific Lecumberi Prison.
In 1978, he was freed and soon returned to North Beach, where he moved in
with Neeli Cherkovski for a time, and reconnected with many of his old friends,
such as Gregory Corso. He also began reading and became an important figure in the
San Francisco poetry scene of those days---which is when most of us of a younger
generation got to know him. Attorney
Bob Yarra became Marty's patron, as well as his close friend, enabling him to
continue his poetry while leading a life that was never far from poverty.
restless, Marty later traveled the world again, spending many years in southeast
Asia from which he would return periodically to New York, often holding court at
the Chelsea Hotel with longtime friends Herbert Huncke and Ira Cohen.
In the last few years he also became celebrated as a great poet in Italy,
where he was invited several times to come and read his works.
He is survived by his widow, filmmaker Barbara Alexander. ##
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN SEVENTY-SIX
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ