Thursday, November 10, 2011

Aimless Reading: The P's, Part 24 (Ted Pearson)

Acoustic Masks
Pearson, Ted
Acoustic Masks

Sent to me by the author.

Ted Pearson is one of several people to whom I owe my current job. When I arrived in Buffalo in 1997, Ted had just left town for Detroit. He'd lived in Buffalo for five or so years prior to that with his partner, Sheila Lloyd, a professor in the English Department. During that time, Ted hosted a series at Just Buffalo called Writers at Work. It was a pretty well-heeled series sponsored by the Lannan Foundation. Ted would curate about ten events per year that featured two authors, usually an author from out of town and a local author. After their Sunday afternoon readings at Hallwalls, Ted would then take the writers out into community settings for different kinds of outreach.

When I arrived in Buffalo, it turned out that my first landlord was Debora Ott, who founded Just Buffalo Literary Center. After we'd known each other a few months, she told me that she was looking for someone to replace Ted's replacement, who wasn't able to commit to the job. I remember the offer was, "an average of ten hours per week, year-round, sometimes more than that during the season, sometimes much less, during the summer months, and the pay is $500 a month, year round." It was kind of an ideal situation for an impoverished graduate student. After being interviewed by the staff, they hired me to take over the series. I think I started in 1998, possibly in the spring, though I can't quite recall.

Ted and Debora had worked out a year's worth of events in advance, so all I needed to do was basically take care of the publicity and pick everyone up at the airport. I invited Ted back the following year to read in the series, which he did. He sent me this copy of his book in advance of that visit.

from Acoustic Masks

What words are
          that others aren't

                    tracks per diem
                              prize quarks

          modal predations
                   drawn to scale

                                   a bootleg turn
                                             at dawn

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