An Introduction to Judson Crews
Reading Judson Crews nude is certainly a different experience than reading him clothed. When the avant-garde is buried in Europe the contemporary juggles with the modern when jugglimg has become a craft, we wonder where is high art. We are living on the death of the beginning. We are a bunch of endings experiencing the enlivening of the past. Utter statement becomes confused by grants, big time publishing & university positions. And yet those who scored have become known and/or wealthy & those who didnt have hecome their own neglected genius.
Judson Crews is a Waco, Texas poet who has accumulated more publication records than your most avant-garde swimmer. He was around when the avant-guard was invented & has survived it all. If a person has not heard a genuine Waco voice she has been denied one of our dominant male images.
These poems are a world suggesting other worlds. Handcrafted books. Gorgeous breasts floating between the poems. A taste for the sensational which is dally life. The exact ruin of the past. The wear luscious insistence of the present, end daily drab. A poet of anything can suggest everything. Judson does more than that. He Is Americas most attractive voice.
i spread out the judson crews publications i’m so grateful to have . . . many press names!
Judson Crews (June 30, 1917 – May 17, 2010) from the net . . . must be in the 50’s . . . whatever happened to self-published poetry books with nudes . . . Judson worked as a printer in Taos & published spiral bound books of his poetry with nudist colony pictures in them, each volume different . . . He talks in his Waco accent about visiting Henry Miller in “Big Sewer.”
You MUST See Mark Weber’s appreciation of Judson: http://metropolis.free-jazz.net/mark-weber-the-judson-crews-i-know/poetry.html/
See our locally edited & published The Noose: a Retrospective, 4 Decades (duende-tooth of time press).
Note: the following was written in 1982 . . .
A Profile & Review by Bobby Byrd
THE NOOSE, A Retrospectivei 4 Decades. Judson Crews. Duende/Tooth of Time Press, P.O. Box 571 Placitas, New Mexico 87043
No, Judson Crews is not dead. But the man somehow did get lost in the razzle-dazzle of the “great poetry renaissance* of the last fifteen years. He sort of stepped off the side of the road. Meanwhile the bandwagon rattled on down the highway with everybody shouting and singing their poems. Why it all happens like this I don’t know. Judson Crews would probably say it’s because we are human beings, and to expect more or less would be foolish. But never mind, folks, here he is again, Judson Crews, with his clear-headed poetic wisdom and (as Creeley puts it elsewhere) his “wild down-home elegance.”
The way THE NOOSE came about is part of the story of Judson Crews and his work. Two fellow Southwest poets, Larry Coodell and John Brandi, first entered into the world
of making poems, like I did, by looking with huge proud eyes at the wild and woolly poets of the forties and fifties. Judson Crews was an integral poet of those times, publishing in any and all magazines that looked at poems and being a pioneer in small press publication and distribution. Running a mail-order bookstore out of his Waco Texas hometown in the forties, he blackmarketed Henry Miller^s Tropic of Cancer and hustled the work of Anais Nin. In Taos in the fifties, his magazines were among the first to publish Leroi Jones, Dianne DiPrima and other young “beats” and he made sure that William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, and all the others got hold of copies. He did not forget his own work,, and he published books filled with his elegant poems. In this way the work got out to men and women who wanted to hear. Judson paid his dues, as he still does.
Two years ago, Goodell and Brandi decided that here was an important poet, especially for them and their concerns, that was being shoved to the side. Thus they began to put together a selection of Crews’ work to span the last forty years of the poet’s publications. It’s an old fashioned type of sentiment that bears fruit in the pages of THE NOOSE.
In his poemst Judson Crews does not stare down at his reader from a mountain of verbose understanding or verbal cleverness. At aill times he knows exactly what each word means. He speaks clearly and with brevity, making a poem that is easy to hear. The poems hit their mark with an ironic and bitter humor that reminds one of Mark Twain, but they are tempered with an orgiastic joy that is all Judson Crews.
The idea of a man “being in the midst of a mechanical, insane, but civilized chaos resonates in THE NOOSE. We have made a mess it and nothing on the horizon seems about to change his views. In that sense he is apolitical. Men wander in very vicious circles of wars and lies, and the poet offers no carrot for us to chase after.
Crews looks for firm ground to stand upon, some wild but true place in the world he sees. Instinctively and like a true son of Ahprodite, he returns to the higher forms of energy and their release. He makes love.
So, although we find ourselves in a real mess, we must hang on, even shed some light. The business of a poet is to dive toward the source of the unconscious, to let the images rise up in the forms that the poet discovers. For Judson Crews that means to make love. His descriptions of the sacred “it” are like harvesting the fruits of a well-planted garden. You find pepper pods, lemons and limes, crisp swiss chard and the succulent hearts of lettuce, even calabashes to be quenched in brine. For Judson Crews,the huge bandwagon bumping on down the super-highway, the force created by a man and a woman making love together is like thunder that may open up the skies. At least for awhile.
El Paso, Texas
IS A CARESS
When we got
we got up
And put our
and went out
That we had
Kicking the shit
out of the
I would take
by the horns
and I only
by the scrotum
As it happened
I was not
With no intention
of making it
The winter itself
a path to my door
I have made neither
For I have started
neither a fire
nor the cry of fire
(from The Noose, A Retrospective, 4 Decades)
I will credit the Bobby Byrd article when I find it: I believe it was in Southwestern Discoveries . . .
I have several copies of The Noose, a Retrospective: 4 Decades which includes 100 poems selected by me and John Brandi, poems from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and wonderful collages by John Brandi, published by Harry Morris, duende/tooth of time press, about 125 pages, out of print but for a $18 check and your address I will send you one . . . larry goodell