Poetry. Music. THE COFFIN NAIL BLUES is Ted Pearson's latest work, comprising sixty-four poems in eight movements. In these poems, the spirit of the blues suffuses a formally concise blend of epigram and epitaph, verse and prose, to produce "a time-lapse view of inexistence." Although these poems are dark, they navigate the darkness with a deftness of touch, a musical takt, that embraces the dark without succumbing to it. As he writes of the tango, which could also be a totentanz, "El abrazo es más importante que el paso" (the embrace is more important than the steps). In this work, libidinal and political economies cross paths—"The border guards look like wallflowers. / Someone should ask them to dance"—as do the living and the dead—"Haunted less by the few words I find / than the fate of those who left them behind." Implicit here is a living tradition in which words survive their makers to the benefit of those who come after. THE COFFIN NAIL BLUES is a substantial addition to a body of work that spans fifty years.
Ted Pearson was born in Palo Alto, California. He began studying liturgical music in 1960, instrumental music in 1962 (with Harvey Samuels and Lee Konitz), and began writing poetry in 1964 after Paul Desmond gave him a copy of Robert Creeley's For Love. He subsequently attended VanderCook College of Music, Foothill College, and San Francisco State University. Pearson is the author of twenty-five books of poetry spanning over fifty years of practice. He is also a co-author of The Grand Piano, a ten-volume "experiment in collective autobiography" and co-editor of Bobweaving Detroit: The Selected Poems of Murray Jackson. In 1988, Pearson left the Bay Area, and has since lived in Ithaca, Buffalo, Detroit, and the Inland Empire. He returned to the Bay Area in 2018 and now lives in Oakland, California.Author City: OAKLAND, CA USA