The official weblog of the little-poetry-press-that-could, Plan B Press. Specializing in chapbooks, we have published of over 40 books from authors both local and international.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

1999, our first project - Bardfest99 anthology

The idea of the Press was tied directly to the existence of the first poetry festival taking place in the USA during National Poetry Month (each April). By the time this idea was being acted upon the National Poetry Month concept as presented by the Academy of American Poets was in its third year. Nowhere in the United States, and frankly nowhere on the planet, was there a month-long poetry festival. Only in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Only the one presented by the Berks Bards, only the one called Bardfest.

As the founder of both the festival and the organization to present the festival, I had also come to the idea of creating a Press to showcase some of the poets and the work being presented during the 30 day festival. Across Berks County during 1999, at a multiple of different venues and locations, poets read, shouted, performed, sang, and listen to dozens of poets coming from across the state and region as well as many county-wide poets.

At the end of this thrilling, overwhelming month the Berks Bards, now all of 6-weeks old as an organization, collected poems that were read during the fesitval for our first anthology, Bardfest99. The Heroic efforts of Dianne Miller resulted in the first project to bear the name 'Plan B Press' on it.

This collection of writings by 21 of the participating poets with a list of 30 plus venues on the front cover. It began an instant collector's item in the area, and now is long out of print. But since every Press has to begin somewhere, here is our beginning story.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

1999 - first book

1999 - first book, Dianne Miller's I'm Not Finished Yet.... a perfectly delightful way to begin, with a sense of incompletion. Cofounder Dianne Miller is first out of the gate with this collection of poems written over the previous few years accompanied by black & white photos taken by author. Many of these poems appeared in the poetry newsletter/journal that she edited called 'Two Thought Minimum'.

This period of time was quite productive for Dianne as she began to make her imprint into the Central Pennsylvania literary scene. In 1996, she stumbled upon a scene at a coffeehouse in Lancaster, PA called The Monk's Tunic and it's poetry night hosted by stevenallenmay. The reading series was called Two Thought Minimum and had begun the previous summer. Twice a month, on a Tuesday night, poets from the area and occasionally from far off Dover, Delaware and Philadelphia would fill the air with verse, coffee, and energy.

Among those attending were Terri Durden, who was one of the first poets published by the fledgling Press in 2001.

A chance remark made by stevenallenmay during a reading in December of 1996 led to Dianne creating the poetry newsletter, Two Thought Minimum, which existed until 1998. At that point it evolved into ''. It ceased publication around the time that Plan B Press began.