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 and raised in Palo Alto, California. He began writing poetry in 1964 and subsequently attended Vandercook College of Music, Foothill College, and San Francisco State. His first book, The Grit, appeared in 1976. He has since published twenty-six books of poetry, including EXTANT GLYPHS: 1964-1980 (Singing Horse Press, 2014), AN INTERMITTENT MUSIC (Chax Press, 2016) and his most recent, Set Pieces (2021). He also co-authored The Grand Piano (2006-2010), a ten-volume experiment in collective autobiography. He now lives in Houston, Texas.Author City: OAKLAND, CA USA