Judson Crews

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Judson Crews, poet, editor, publisher, and book dealer, was born June 30, 1917, in Waco, Texas. Crews received both the B.A. (1941) and M.A. (1944) in Sociology from Baylor University, and during 1946-1947 studied fine arts at Baylor. In addition, Crews did graduate study at the University of Texas, El Paso in 1967. He has worked as an educator at Wharton County Junior College, New Mexico (1967-1970), the University of New Mexico, Gallup Branch (1971-1972), and at the University of Zambia (1974-1978). He has also been involved in social work. After two years in the U. S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, Crews moved his family and business, Motive Press, from Waco, Texas, to Taos, New Mexico, where he began his writing and publishing career in earnest.

Judson Crews was a prominent figure in the Southwest poetry scene as a poet, editor, and publisher of contemporary poetry and art magazines. Crews admittedly wrote under numerous pseudonyms. Of these pseudonyms, Willard Emory Betis, Trumbull Drachler, Cerise Farallon (Mrs. Trumbull Drachler, maiden name Lena Johnston), and Tobi Macadams have been clearly identified. In the instance of these, and possibly many other pseudonymous names, Crews created a fantasy world of writers to encompass, perhaps, the breadth of his literary ambitions.

Crews’ publishing activities began in earnest after his move from Texas to the Taos area. He started the Este Es Press in 1946, which remained in operation until 1966. The little magazines with which he was involved from 1940 to 1966 include The Deer and Dachshund, The Flying Fish, Motive, The Naked Ear, Poetry Taos, Suck-Egg Mule: A Recalcitrant Beast, Taos: A Deluxe Magazine of the Arts, and Vers Libre. Together with Scott Greer, he was co-editor of Crescendo: A Laboratory for Young America, and worked with Jay Waite on Gale. Crews published not only his own chapbooks and magazines but also those of his friends and colleagues, including the Zambian poet Mason Jordan Mason, among others. In conjunction with this printing activity, Crews operated the Motive Book Shop which became a focal point for the dissemination and advocacy of avant-garde poetry, important little magazines and literary reviews, as well as so-called pornographic materials. The material that Crews sold ranged from literary classics such as the works of D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller, to hard-to-obtain domestic and foreign avant-garde journals, and nudist magazines. Crews was also a friend as well as an advocate of Henry Miller and continued to sell Miller’s works after they were banned in the United States.


Judson Crews

Section A: Books

Section B: Books Edited and Published


A Select and limited sampling…

Mason Jordan Mason
THE YARDARM OF MURPHEY’S KITE
crews_theyardarmRanches of Taos: Motive Press, 1956
First edition, 4to., [48] pp. Introduction by Chris Bjerknes, “Mason Jordan Mason: An Appreciation”. White, plastic comb binding with decorated board covers. Photographs cut from magazines on both sides of covers, with title and author name letterpress printed in blue on front. Additional magazine images throughout. The images appear to come from nudist, girly, travel, and other magazines. Each copy presumably is unique. [Some have suggested that Mason Jordan Mason is a pseudonym for Judson Crews who admitedly used several pseudonyms. See biographical sketch.] 

Judson Crews, editor 
POETRY TAOS, Number One.
crews_poetrytaosRanches of Taos: n.p., 1957
First edition, 4to., [64] pp. White, plastic comb binding with decorated board covers. Photographs cut from magazines on both sides of covers, with title and author name letterpress printed in blue on front. Numerous similar leaves in text. The images appear to come from nudist, girly, travel, and other magazines. Each copy presumably is unique. Introduction by Judson Crews. Contributors include: Wolcott Ely, Gaston Criell, William Carlos Williams, Mason Jordan Mason, Robert Creeley, Robert Burdette, Max Fenstein, Hyacinthe Hill, Joseph Foster, Cerise Farallon, Judson Crews, Donn Cantonwine, Murry Moore, Wendell B. Anderson. 


Further research and reading:

Biographical information


References consulted:

Anderson, Wendell. THE HEART’S PRECISION (Carson: Dumont Press, 1994)

Taylor, Kent  and Alan Horvath.  LOOKING FOR D.A. LEVY (RANDOM SIGHTINGS): THE D.A. LEVY BIBLIOGRAPHY, Volume 1 and 2 (Kirpan Press, 2006, 2008)

THE WORMWOOD REVIEW, Issue No. 19 (Storrs: Wormwood Review Press, 1965)