A relative newcomer to the New York poetry scene, Matt Pasca has quickly made his mark as a writer to watch. His honest, beautifully-crafted first collection, A Thousand Doors (2011, JB Stillwater), was nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize in Poetry and his poem "Receiving Line" won the 2012 Great Neck Poetry Prize. His poem "6,000 Rounds Off the Internet" finished runner-up for The Georgetown Review's 2013 Poetry Prize.
Matt's poems have also appeared in The Paterson Literary Review, Kestrel, English Journal, Weave Magazine, Long Island Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, New Mirage Journal, Vox Poetica, Red River Review, String Poet Journal, Generations, WestWard Quarterly and nine print anthologies, including both the 7th/8th Annual Writers Digest Poetry Collections and Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women.
After earning a BA in English from Cornell University and an MAT in English from Stony Brook University, Pasca signed on at Bay Shore High School, where he has taught Creative Writing, Mythology and both AP and IB English since 1997. In 2003, Matt was named New York State Teacher of Excellence and he advises The Writers' Block, named Most Outstanding High School Literary-Art Magazine for both 2010 and 2011 by the American Scholastic Press Association.
Matt maintains a steady performance itinerary, having featured at SOMOS in New Mexico, the Parkside Lounge, Cornelia Street Cafe and Makor in NYC, and Hofstra University, CW Post, Stony Brook University, Molloy College, The Barn, Sip This, The Nosh, The Gazebo and BJ Spoke Gallery on Long Island. Pasca serves as a reviewer and workshop coordinator for the Long Island Authors Group and runs writing workshops/classes at local conferences, colleges and continuing education programs. Most importantly, Matt is the very proud husband of author Terri Muuss (Over Exposed) and father of indefatigable gingers Rainer and Atticus.
Poet Matt Pasca explores how personal suffering can be transformed into grace, as if through alchemy, when that grief can be shared with others. Using the Buddhist "Mustard Seed" parable as scaffolding, Pasca's work pays homage to Kisa Gotami's quest to save her son by finding a home where, impossibly, no suffering has befallen the inhabitants.
Pasca's poems manuever deftly between the seemingly simple and mundane details of the world around us and the sublime world we often miss in the myopia of our pain.
Just as Gotami comes to see her grief reflected in the eyes behind the doors upon which she desperately knocks, we too find our own sorrows and pleasures illumined by the light of Pasca's unflinching exploration and delicate crafting. In the end, A Thousand Doors testifies to the necessity of sharing our stories with courage and vulnerability, and how doing so can lead us further down the path of joy.