Humble Beginnings and Late Returns

Secret Location on the Lower East Side states that C Press ran from 1963-1980.  I am aware of nothing published by the press after 1978.  Elio Schneeman's In February I Think and Steve Carey's The Lily of St. Mark's were both published in that year.  If there is a C Press bibliography out there, can somebody please direct me to it?

In any case, The Lily of St. Mark's seems like the press's final statement to me.  Berrigan makes a late return as a publisher.  George Schneeman provided the cover art, which has a decidely Joe Brainard feel, particularly the typography of the cover.  The Nancy cover of C, The Anthology of New York Poets, or Tom Clark's magazines like Slice or Spice come to mind.  Berrigan printed 250 copies of The Lily of St. Mark's.  The copy in my possession is signed by Carey to "Tom."  I like to think this is Tom Clark, which strengthens the link to the cover art of Slice/Vice/Spice/Ice etc.

C Press is being laid to rest in St. Mark's, the homebase for The Poetry Project and legendary mimeos like The World.  Berrigan put together Carey's book using St. Mark's facilities.  The lily symbolizes the Virgin Mary, friendship, sexuality, and spirituality, but also death.  The election of Ronald Reagan, the decline of federal funding, and the personal computer would draw the mimeo revolution to an end (1945-1980).  In 1978, a sense of closure was in the air.  C Press was on its last legs.

Yet there is also a reference to beginnings.  Berrigan's first book, which he made every attempt to erase from the record, is A Lily for My Love: 13 Poems, self-published in Providence, Rhode Island nearly twenty years earlier (1959).  So in Carey's slim collection of poems, the career of Ted Berrigan as a publisher comes full circle and is memorialized. 

For those interested here is John Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies published on Project Gutenberg.



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