By Ashley Bowden
Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Oct. 11, a poetry reading led by poets Matt Pasca and Terri Muuss was held in the Great Hall. Both writers have published compilations of original poetry and are educators; Muuss works as a life coach, motivational speaker, social worker, director, and performer as well. Their compilations, “Over Exposed,” “A Thousand Doors,” and “Raven Wire” are available for purchase on www.amazon.com. Muuss is currently working to publish her next work, “God’s Spine.”
Being a married couple and familiar with each other’s style of writing, Pasca and Muuss took turns reading and performing pieces in tandem. “We like to see how our poems dialogue together,” Muuss said. The pair also offered writing advice to the audience of approximately 40 attendees, underlining the prospect of finding inspiration. The couple finds much of theirs in family, life experiences and by having visited numerous countries worldwide including Mexico, Central America, Guatemala, Honduras, Greece and Turkey. “Writing is a process of discovery. It’s not a process of transcription,” Pasca said.
Many of the poems Muuss read stemmed from the inspiration of relatives and past trauma; Muuss performed a poem titled “T-Shirt,” that she had written from the perspective of her autistic son. The piece emphasized the different thought processes her son experiences from the rest of the world and explored that mode of thinking. “I was very drawn to Terri Muuss’s poems,” Michaela Fox, sophomore musical theatre major, said, “They embarked into a world that is more violent, more abusive, more aggressive; it’s discomforting for a lot of people but it’s necessary to talk about.”
Pasca’s poetry had more visually descriptive aspects. His poem “The Exact Location of Africa,” depicted an illustration of Mount Kilimanjaro. At the same time, the piece confronted issues of race and cultural ignorance. “What better way to discuss things that make us uncomfortable than through art?” Fox said. Many of the writers’ poems addressed contemporary issues that have existed for centuries.
Muuss’s biggest piece of advice for students interested in writing is to, “Find someone who wants your work to be its best.” The writer is not always the best judge of their own work, according to both Muuss and Pasca. “Not everybody is going to be a good reader for your work,” Muuss said, supporting the idea that everyone has a writing style unique to them.
Dennis Pahl, English professor and current director of the poetry center, said, “I’ve never seen before, a better back and forth exchange of poetry, performance and passion.”