Life and work
Pearson was born in 1948 in Palo Alto, California. He began studying liturgical music in 1960, instrumental music in 1962 (with Harvey Samuels, Lee Konitz, Modesto Briseno, and others), 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 (Chicago), Foothill College (Los Altos Hills), and San Francisco State University (BA English, 1971).
In 1977, Pearson began his long association with the poets who were then actively involved in creating Language poetry, a new school of innovative writing that emerged in San Francisco, New York, and other places during this period. Among these poets were Rae Armantrout, Steve Benson, Alan Bernheimer, Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian, Tom Mandel, Bob Perelman, Kit Robinson, Ron Silliman, and Barrett Watten.
In 1988, Pearson left the Bay Area, and has lived in Ithaca (1988–94), Buffalo (1994–97), and Detroit (1997–2006). He now lives in Highland, California, where he is adjunct faculty at the University of Redlands.
- The Grit, 1976, Trike Books (San Francisco, CA)
- The Blue Table, 1979, Trike Books (San Francisco, CA)
- Soundings, 1980, Singing Horse Press (Philadelphia, PA)
- Ellipsis, 1981, Trike Books (San Francisco, CA)
- Refractions, 1982, Origin (Series 4) (Boston, MA)
- Flukes, 1982, Privately Printed (San Francisco, CA)
- Coulomb's Law, 1984, Square Zero Editions(San Francisco, CA)
- Mnemonics, 1985, Gaz (San Francisco, CA)
- Catenary Odes, 1987, O Books (Oakland, CA)
- Evidence: 1975-1989, Gaz 1989, (San Francisco, CA)
- Planetary Gear, 1991, Roof Books (New York, NY)
- Mnèmoniques, 1992, Trans. Françoise de Laroque, Un bureau sur l'Atlantique (France)
- Acoustic Masks, 1994, Zasterle Press (Tenerife, Spain)
- The Devil's Aria, 1999, Meow Press (Buffalo, NY)
- Songs Aside: 1992-2002, 2003, Past Tents Press (Detroit, MI)
- Encryptions, 2007, Singing Horse Press (San Diego, CA)
- Extant Glyphs: 1964-1980, Singing Horse Press (San Diego, CA)
- The Coffin Nail Blues, 2016, Atelos (Berkeley, CA)
- An Intermittent Music: 1975-2010, 2016, Chax Press (Victoria, TX)
- After Hours, 2016, Singing Horse Press (San Diego, CA)