Jeffrey Lependorf is leaving the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses after 17 years as executive director. He will be taking a position as executive director of the Flow Chart Foundation in Hudson, N.Y. A search for a replacement is currently underway.
CLMP was started by George Plympton and Russell Banks in 1967, with help from the National Endowment for the Arts. Lependorf joined the organization on September 11, 2001, and has since seen the membership of the group grow from 130 to 500. Approximately one third of the membership are book publishers, with the remaining two-thirds comprised of magazine publishers and others.
In his new role at the Flow Chart Foundation, Lependorf will be working with the archives of the late poet John Ashbery. He will also be overseeing programming for an affiliated gallery space. "My family lives in Hudson and I’ve been commuting between there and the city," he said, noting that he's looking forward to a position closer to home. He also added that he has "been passionate about the work of John Ashbery, who was my neighbor for many years."
Lependorf believes his replacement at CLMP will find the organization in good standing. He said that during his tenure he helped the group's members transform "from working in a vacuum and always reinventing the wheel on their own, to creating a real community." He added he believes right now is "the most exciting time for small press publishing since the DIY movement of the 1960s."
Elaborating on his notion that we are in a second golden age of indie publishing, Lependorf said: "Just look at books like the Elena Ferrante tetralogy from Europa Editions or Claudia Rankine's Citizen from Greywolf, they are on the bookshelves of so many discerning readers." He went on, saying that "presses like Ugly Duckling and Siglio are producing books that are not only fantastic pieces of literature, but so extraordinarily beautiful to hold...and you have online literary magazines like Words Without Borders and Recommended Reading that have tens of thousands of readers."
Lependorf also serves as the executive director of Small Press Distribution, and will continue in that role.