Begun in May 1963 by poet and editor Ted Berrigan (with Lorenz Gude as publisher), “C” Press and its mimeograph-produced magazine and books provided an important early outlet for the writings of younger poets and their immediate predecessors. The first issue printed work by the core group of Dick Gallup, Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard (who was also a visual artist), and Ted Berrigan. These four had recently relocated to the East Village from Tulsa, where they had produced and/or contributed to the White Dove Review (five issues, 1959–60). However, the immediate precursor to “C” was The Censored Review, which was published, also via the mimeo machine, in 1963; its contents had been gathered by Columbia student Ron Padgett for the university literary magazine, but had been suppressed by the dean. The title poem, by “Noble Brainard,” was a collaboration between Berrigan and Padgett.
Ted Berrigan. Mixed-media portrait by George Schneeman, 1966–67. Painter George Schneeman and poet Ted Berrigan met in June 1966 just after Schneeman moved to New York City. This is probably the first of the many paintings of New York School poets executed by Schneeman at his new studio on East 7th Street.
Berrigan’s “C” magazine published poems, plays, essays, translations, and comics by a growing number of writers and artists, but always bore the distinctive imprint of its charismatic editor. Issue 4 featured poet and dance writer Edwin Denby and included contributions by Frank O’Hara, John Wieners, and Berrigan. The cover sported a silk screen by Andy Warhol of an image of Denby and Gerard Malanga. 2/2 Stories for Andy Warhol by Ron Padgett, also with a cover by Warhol, was published by “C” Press in 1965, as was Joe Ceravolo’s Fits of Dawn. Berrigan’s own great book of the period was The Sonnets (1964), which featured a cover by Brainard. For many people, this work has come to symbolize Berrigan, who was, in the words of Ken Tucker, “fiercely unpretentious, intensely self-absorbed, prodigious in his ambition and energy, [and who] did more than create a substantial body of poetry. He also embodied a spirit that gave meaning to many other writers’ lives.”
“C,” vol. 2. no. 11 (Summer 1965). Cover by Joe Brainard.
Edited by Joe Brainard. Nos. 1–2 (1964). No. 1 was published by Boke Press.
“C” Press books include
Berrigan, Ted. The Sonnets. 1964. Cover by Joe Brainard.
Brownstein, Michael. Behind the Wheel. 1967. “C” no. 14. Cover by Alex Katz.
Burroughs, William S. Time. 1965. Four drawings by Brion Gysin.
Ceravolo, Joseph. Fits of Dawn. 1965. Cover by Rosemary Ceravolo.
Elmslie, Kenward. The Power Plant Poems. 1967. Cover by Joe Brainard.
Gallup, Dick. Hinges. 1965. Cover by Joe Brainard.
Notley, Alice. 165 Meeting House Lane (Twenty-four Sonnets). 1971. Cover by Philip Whalen.
Padgett, Ron. Quelques Poèmes/Some Translations/Some Bombs. 1963. Translations by Padgett of poems by Pierre Reverdy. Cover by Joe Brainard.
Padgett, Ron. 2/2 Stories for Andy Warhol. 1965. Cover by Andy Warhol.
Schneeman, Elio. In February I Think. 1978. Cover by George Schneeman.
Veitch, Tom. Literary Days. 1964. Cover by Joe Brainard.
The Censored Review (1963).