“On October 9th Allen wrote me: ‘Frank’s poems seem slightly electric—curious what he’ll make of Plymell’s poesy. Stanford might try sending out to Poetry or Evergreen or anywhere wherever it interests him if it interests him to publish some.’ And in a surprisingly short time Frank had published poems in many of the finest journals in the country, though I believe his first published poems were in the University’s journal Preview (1970), edited by Leon. Frank’s contributor’s note read ‘Frank thinks, ‘most of the people in this book, and most of the people in this school, are tight-assed honkies.” My copy fortunately is inscribed ‘to a good friend, from Frank.’ In 1971 his remarkable and beautiful book The Singing Knives was published. My copy includes another kind note: ‘I would like you to have this as a gift from me for taking a genuine interest in my poems. Thank you for writing Allen. Cordially, Frank.’ ”
—John Wood, from “With Allen in Arkansas: An Ozark Diary”
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.
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.
Described by Kenneth Rexroth as “one of the most accomplished, one of the most influential” of the postwar American poets, Robert Duncan was an important part of both the Black Mountain school of poetry, led by Charles Olson, and the San Francisco Renaissance, whose other members included poets Jack Spicer and Robin Blaser. A distinctive voice in American poetry, Duncan’s idiosyncratic poetics drew on myth, occultism, religion—including the theosophical tradition in which he was raised—and innovative writing practices such as projective verse and composition by field.
Envisioned as the monthly newsletter of The Rhymers Club at U.C. Berkeley, R.C. Lion ran for three issues from 1966 to 1967. Editors of the newsletter included Ron Loewinsohn, David Bromige, Sherril Jaffe, and David Schaff.
The Club was open to all, “the hope being how a place might come into fact where a writer can give and take heart and impetus among his fellows, exchange information pertinent or otherwise, tell lies, insist on his visions, and hear readings, taped or live, by writers unlikely to be available.”
The history of the Batman Gallery is detailed in the book “O Her Blackness Sparkles!” The Life and Times of the Batman Art Gallery, San Francisco 1960-1965, by Jack Foley.
From Stinson Beach in the late 1950s, Jess Collins and Robert Duncan published just two books under their Enkidu Surrogate imprint: Jack Spicer’s BILLY THE KID and Robert Duncan’s own FAUST FOUTU.
The books were distributed by White Rabbit Press.