Monday, July 9, 2018

LORD NOSE! The Award Goes to Cinco Puntos Press

The CPP Team @ Headquarters, El Paso, Texas:
Co-founders Lee and Bobby Byrd;
Mary Fountaine,Office Manager; and Johnny Byrd, CEO;
Not pictured are Jessica Powers (California), VP of Marketing and Imagination,
Michelle Lange,  Graphics and Design, Whack Publications, Chicago,
Michael Drapes, CPA; and Jill Bell, Director of What Really Gets Done

Yahoo! Cinco Puntos Press receives 2018 Lord Nose Award celebrating the life and work of the legendary JonathanWilliams andhis Jargon Society. 

Introduction of the Award

It is my great pleasure and honor to have established the annual Lord Nose Award. It is given to honor and celebrate the memory of Jonathan Williams to a publisher or editor in recognition of a lifetime of work in literary publishing. 

Jonathan was the founder and publisher of the now legendary Jargon Society, as well as being a wonderful poet, photographer, raconteur and cultural observer with a mordant wit and a clear eye for artistic excellence wherever it might be found.

Over more than half a century, beginning in 1951, Jargon published 85 books and 30 broadsides and booklets, all focused on Jonathan’s unique vision of writing and photography that truly mattered, that needed to be discovered, nurtured and brought forth into the world. His commitment to making books as beautiful as possible never wavered.  

The books and broadsides he published include many that are now recognized as seminal, and often the books he published were writers’ first books. The Jargon list is a fantastic representation of so many of the most important creative figures of the late twentieth century, including Duncan, Creeley, Olson, Zukofsky, Niedecker, Mina Loy, Art Sinsabaugh, Denise Levertov, Paul Metcalf, Larry Eigner, Guy Davenport, Buckminster Fuller, along with many other poets, writers and photographers, even the now notorious White Trash Cooking, its best selling book, by far.

Jargon stands as one of the most important literary presses America has produced. It is an exemplar of a Jonathan’s lifelong dedication to words and art, of discovery and joy,  the social act of making public the work he believed in. 

Jonathan Williams was an important influence in my own work, so this award is in part a humble thank you and acknowledgment of what he meant to me and to so many other poets, publishers and readers. I would like to specifically thank Jeffery Beam and Stanley Finch, for their important financial contributions to this effort, as well as Tom Meyer, Jonathan’s life partner, for his endorsement of this award. I’d also like to thank Jeffrey Lependorf and CLMP for giving this project a home, and Poets House for giving us this great location.

It is a distinct pleasure for me to be able to recognize Bobby, Lee and John Byrd of Cinco Puntos Press to receive this second Lord Nose award for 2018.

Jonathan Williams was both a poet and a publisher.  He had eyes and ears for talent and brilliance, coupled with an intransigent belief that great art was very often, most often, ignored by the traditional keepers of culture. His goal as a publisher was to find and care for those individualistic eccentrics who, like him, had something to say that not many of his contemporaries cared to hear. His goal as a writer and photographer was to isolate and recognize the beautiful, sometimes weird moments in life that make it so worth living and enjoying.

Cinco Puntos Press has brilliantly carried on the tradition of independent published Jonathan Williams embodied.  Bobby and Lee are both writers, and the press has always been focused on writers and their works above and beyond whatever commercial success they might have had. Like Jargon, Cinco Puntos is a writer’s press. Bobby and Lee, and now John, representing a new generation, have combined their work and lives to creating great books that will empower and strengthen communities of readers, and honor the writers who made them. I am very pleased to be able to give the second Lord Nose award to Bobby, Lee and John Byrd, and I know that Jonathan Williams would have joined us in congratulating them on a lifetime of publishing books that truly matter.
--David Wilk, Booktrix

Susannah Lawrence, Director of Publicity, Akashic Books,
Receives the award for Cinco Puntos Press

Susannah Lawrence, Director of Publicity, receives the Award for Cinco Puntos and reads Bobby's speech. 

Mil abrazos y mil gracias to the CLMP and Jeffrey Lependorf and to David Wilk and colleagues for choosing Cinco Puntos Press from so many deserving Independent Publishers. We’re touched deeply. And thanks too to Susannah Lawrence of Akashic Books for receiving this award for us. She and our friends at Akashic are great and wonderful examples of why we are so happy and proud to be Independent Publishers, to be in this great big simmering soup of ideas and words and people and evolution.

WOW! Lee and I wish we could be here with you tonight. We’re so very much honored to be receiving the 2nd Annual Lord Nose Award. It’s so very cool to be celebrating Jonathan Williams and Jargon Press. Jonathan was a true hero. He was at the beginning of who we are now. All of us! He and his peers scattered across the country were our Johnny Appleseed. When I was in my teens in the 1950s in Memphis, my friend Harvey Goldner began reading me all these strange and different poems.  Gosh, I didn’t know writing could be like that! Charles Olson, Joel Oppenheimer, Paul Blackburn, Robert Creeley, Leroi Jones, Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan, Mina Loy, Lorraine Niedecker, Kenneth Patchen and so many others. I was hooked for life. I became a poet. How stupid is that? And in the 1980s Lee and I became publishers? Wow! How so very weird and na├»ve is that? We live in El Paso, Texas, at the edge of nowhere. So far outside the mainstream that the creeks and rivers are dry. Lucky for us, we didn’t really understand what we were doing. We didn’t know we were outsiders. We published the writers and books that were in front of us to publish. Border books. Mexican books. Bilingual books. Our friends in the American deserts of the Southwest. Dagoberto Gilb. Ricardo Sanchez. Joe Hayes. Luis Urrea. Pat LittleDog. Larry Goodell. Joseph Somoza. Rudolfo Anaya. Keith Wilson. Benjamin Saenz. And step by step, readers and other writers started finding us. Our good friends at Consortium Book Sales and Distribution decided to distribute our books. We made new friends in the publishing world. Truly independent publishers like us. Fools like us. Good close friends. Lifelong friends. The pathway has been made by books, and it’s led us into so many new and wonderful places. It’s made us citizens of the world. Activists in the world of letters and the imagination, activists in the world of culture and communication. Active resisters to the violence that is being done to the peoples of our world, to our communities, to our cultures and politics, and to the earth. We are so so happy and honored to be receiving the Lord Nose Award. Holy shit! Thank you. Especially today because today is Lee Merrill Byrd’s birthday, the great and wondrous senior editor and President of Cinco Puntos Press. I am blessed to share with her all the joys and frustrations, the wild and wonderful ride of this so very peculiar life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 
--Bobby Byrd

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