Michael Lentz

Michael Lentz was born in Düren, Westphalia, in 1964. He studied German language and literature, philosophy and history in Aachen and Munich and has since worked as a writer, performer, saxophonist, composer, editor, event organiser and university lecturer.

His doctoral thesis on »Multi-media aspects of sound poetry/music after 1945« (2000) is a definitive work. When still a student he performed and published in anthologies, journals, catalogues and made audio and radio recordings. He was an active member of the group »Musik/Film/Dia/Licht-Galerie« led by the Munich composer and sound-actionist Joseph Anton Riedl. He also organised the »Soundbox« series, which presents recorded literature, sound poetry, sound music, improvised music and experimental film in Salzburg, Munich and Berlin.

Following the collection of poems entitled »Neue Anagramme« (1998; t: New anagrams) and the prose texts »Oder« (1998; t: Or), Lentz won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize for an extract from his autobiographically inspired text »muttersterben« (2002; t: motherdying). With confidence and expertise, Lentz brings together a range of stylistic devices from a tradition that exposes the material nature of language with a lengthy, emotional stream of language reminiscent of Thomas Bernhard and Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Many references to these and other poets, as well as to philosophers and pop legends such as Herbert Grönemeyer, found their way into Lentz’s first novel, »Liebeserklärung« (2003; t: Declaration of love). The reflections, arranged associatively, use rhythms inspired by train journeys criss-crossing Germany and draw on themes from the country and its landscapes, revolving around a love affair in a way that is at once clever and persistent. Like several other works by Lentz, »Liebeserklärung« is available not only in book form but also as a CD recording.

His second novel, »Pazifik Exil« (2007; t: Pacific Exile) uses multiple perspectives to make links between writing and exile. It tells of the fate of intellectuals and artists such as Werfel, Brecht, Schönberg, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, who fled to the Pacific coast in the U.S. during the Nazi régime.

Lentz edits the series »Klangzeichen«. In 2002 he founded the group »Sprechakte X/treme«, which merges literature with the music of the most different genres. He has been President of the Free Academy of the Arts in Leipzig since 2003, and curates its series »Projektionen. Poesie und Film«. The oft-awarded author and musician works as professor for creative writing at the German Literature Institute at Leipzig University. In 2008 he has held the poetry chair at Wiesbaden. He lives in Berlin and Leipzig.

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