Woodbury University Professor and Poet Richard Matzen Publishes Going, New Collection Exploring ‘Byroads of Self’

Top Quote Work of Narrative Poetry Offers Immersive, Personal View of Daily Commute, Community, Music, Family and Loss End Quote
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (1888PressRelease) June 29, 2017 - In a critically acclaimed return to publishing, Woodbury University Writing Professor and poet Richard Matzen has released Going, a new collection of narrative poetry that immerses readers in the world of the Los Angeles commute and shares the story of a fifty-year-old commuter who stops the commute, joins park life, and experiences jazz, the landscape, and his parents’ deaths.

    “Each poem in Richard N. Matzen, Jr.’s outstanding new collection Going is sharpened to deftly take the reader through the byroads of self—to ‘shift in between speeds,’” said Leah Maines, award-winning author, editor and actor. “Matzen reveals the raw Los Angeles where ‘light gray air masses slide in the morning wind / slipping in between mountains,’ and where ‘strong winds flow…shouting their stories / on the road filled with stories.’ Each poem is buzzing with energy and precision.”

    With the help of full- and part-time faculty, Matzen founded the Writing Center, the Writing Consultant Program and the Writing Department, all of which now reside within Woodbury’s College of Liberal Arts. Dr. Matzen currently works with other Professional Writing faculty to continue to develop the Professional Writing undergraduate degree, first offered in the fall of 2016.

    While commuting during the summer of 2010, Going’s narrator re-experiences writing poetry and recalling past days of listening to jazz, blues and bebop players. He begins to stop regularly at a large Los Angeles park and interrupts his commuting by writing more poetry.

    “Unwittingly at first, he joins park life and feels its tension with commuter life,” Matzen said. “Los Angeles commuters typically travel one-to-a-car and seem to believe they’re always going to places even when stuck in traffic jams. But park visitors usually come with a group and connect more intimately to each other in the park. So, as Going’s narrator lives in this conflicted world, he also displaces himself into recollections of growing up in the Midwest, and he comes to terms with the death of both his parents that summer. In short, the tensions between the need to stay in one place and never totally being in one place makes Going into a personal story with vivid pictures of Los Angeles life in the commute and at a park.”

    After growing up in rural Indiana, Matzen, inspired by artists and jazz musicians, published poems, poetry books and jazz articles in the Pacific Northwest during the 1980s, among them The Artist’s Album, an illustrated prose poetry chapbook. Some 30 years later, his desire to write poetry was rekindled to the point that in 2009, he began to write Going.

    In 2007, he co-edited the book, Reformation: The Teaching and Learning of English in Electronic Environments, and in 2013 he founded the Critical Transitions Consortium, whose members are part- and full-time English professors from California State University Northridge, College of the Canyons, Glendale Community College, Pasadena City College and Woodbury. Since 2014, he has served as principal organizer for the Consortium’s annual conference. Matzen achieved the rank of full professor at Woodbury in 2015.

    Matzen (http://richmatzen.weebly.com) obtained his B.S. and M.A. from Northern Arizona University and his Ph.D. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. To view an interview of Dr. Matzen with San Diego City College student Will Ezell, see https://youtu.be/QiV9c1RthAw; to order Going, https://goo.gl/TbpwoI.

    About Woodbury University
    Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. The university ranks 15th among the nation’s “25 Colleges That Add the Most Value,” according to Money Magazine, and is a 2016-17 College of Distinction. Woodbury is a finalist for the General Community Service Award, a part of the 2015 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognition program. With campuses in Burbank/Los Angeles and San Diego, the university offers bachelor's degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and College of Liberal Arts, along with a Master of Business Administration, Master of Architecture, Master of Interior Architecture and Master of Science in Architecture. The San Diego campus offers Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture, Master of Interior Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees, as well as a Master of Science in Architecture, Real Estate Development. Visit woodbury.edu for more information.

    Ken Greenberg | Edge Communications, Inc. | 323-469-3397
    ken ( @ ) edgecommunicationsinc dot com

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