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, April 30, 2008


As a press it's crucial to be aware of time at all times. Knowing when book release parties are in relation to when books are due back from printers, and which authors haven't corrected their proofs or signed their contracts, and whose books are out for reviews; it can all get a bit jumbled at times. We try to balance out reading manuscripts with the day-to-day need-meeting of our current authors.

This is why we have instituted blocks of time during the year when we read manuscripts. We are the least stressed during those times (theoretically) and can read your submissions with the most open and focused mind. So please keep in mind the dates that we list on our site if you're considering submitting a manuscript to us… or in fact whomever you are submitting your work to, whether an e-zine, magazine, journal or press.

Also, it would really behoove you to browse our store. No really. Every single book that we are selling has a sample poem from the book so you can actually taste test before buying (or submitting). We don't cater to only one style of poetry, but there's definitely stuff that we don't like and it's reflected in what we DO publish.

Katy Jean May
Creative Director

Introducing new member of Plan B Press team

"the king is in his counting house
counting all his (books)"

okay, today I will be going through our inventory as we have just gotten new books by F J Bergmann and C L Bledsoe - but I also wanted to mention that Plan B Press has grown recently when a fellow Grad of the Master of Arts Management program at George Mason University, Tommy Tavenner, agreed to join the team. His presence may not be visible at first, but as taskmaster he is charged with pushing s - a - m to accomplish things that he has said he wants to do, and the Press needs to do.

more later, once our bookshelves are "in order"

s - a - m

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sandy Crimmins, we miss you (1951-2007)

A Memorial to the Unique

Around 2003, we met a short and spunky red-headed poet around Philadelphia who read very engaging poetry, often accompanied by guitar. In discussions on bringing out a book for her, she mentioned an idea she had for one collection she was working on; but she wasn't sure whether we (or anyone) would be up to it. She wanted strings to weave through the poems ala Harold and the Purple Crayon. Her collection focused on the conflicts and harmonies that people have with science and their faith. The collection was called "String Theory" and the poet's name was Sandy Crimmins.
We blended string imagery with text, creating a writhing gorgeous book, bound at the spine by string, fulfilling her dream book. String Theory was well received and sold well; she adored the book and her enthusiasm was contagious.
Sandy left us in the summer of 2007. Such a vibrant and wonderfully kind person, it still seems so impossible that she's gone. In her memory we are creating a Sandy Crimmins Memorial Book Award to allow other poets the chance to have their dream books come true: something visual, something out of the norm, something that stretches both the author's comfort zone and expectations. We think Sandy would have liked that.

Katy Jean May
Creative Director

I wrote about Sandy and her book on my chapbook blog shortly after her passing. We found out from a fellow Plan B Press poet, Joyce Meyers, about Sandy's untimely death and as it happened, we were scheduled to be in eastern Pennsylvania the weekend of her funeral which was held in the Germantown section of Philly. I was able to speak briefly with her husband, Joe, and her two sons. But words at that time seems hollow and empty. As we left the funeral service, Katy & I began to discuss how we could best remember Sandy and her marvelous talent. We had been thinking about establishing a Poetry Award which would take place in the Fall and Sandy became the spark and the focus of that idea. We quickly decided to call the award the Sandy Crimmins Memorial Award.

We haven't finalized the details yet, but as Katy mentions above - it will be an Award seeking to bring out a book with strong visual components as well as solid poetry. More details will follow in short order.

co-founder and editor-in-chief

Sunday, April 27, 2008

not a press for hire

When the press moved to Philadelphia in 2003, Steve and I were faced with doing the nuts-and-bolts stuff that Dianne Miller had been taking care of since the press began. We learned mostly by trial and error, making fewer mistakes (thankfully) as we went along.

We learned pretty quickly about vanity presses and strove to move away from that model, although we fell into that trap early on. Vanity presses pretty much function as presses for hire. You send them what you have, they make the book and you buy the copies. In the cases of print on demand (POD) presses, the press prints books only when copies are bought, generally resulting in books that are low quality and uniform looking. They also tend to be expensive and a pain to put in stores.

Another thing that vanities tend to do is not exercise any real editorial control. They’ll print pretty much anything. Steve and I wanted to retain control of what our press printed. We didn’t want to publish work that we didn’t like or believe in. It was difficult at first to tell people no, but it really strengthened the press and made us hone in on who we wanted to be and what we were trying to achieve.

So when you visit our online store or check out our books at our store, take a moment to assess the quality of the printing, the layout and the writing. I think it reflects well on us that we did not go the vanity route.

Katy Jean May
Creative Director

Saturday, April 26, 2008

sometimes talks lead somewhere

Weekends for Plan B Press are for meeting with folks not related to us. For example today I met with M. Magus of Yockadot Poetic Theatre Festival in Alexandria, VA about the possibility of collaborating in the near future. Details forthcoming.

Friday, April 25, 2008

in the devilish details

In Dec. 2001, I moved to Philadelphia and a few months later I had the good fortune to land at Robins Bookstore, a Philly independent bookstore ICON, as their poetry and special events coordinator and their first webmaster. I got to host a poetry series beginning in April 2002 called "the Eternal NOW!" which lasted there for 18 months.

When the series began, Katy & I were still coming together as 'teammay' and it wasn't until later in 2003 that Dianne Miller handed us the reins of Plan B Press. In that time, as I was new to Philly and all, I got to witness some incredibly good (and some pretty terrible) poetry at readings across the city. We also got to hear, and later publish, Lamont Steptoe, Ryan Eckes, Jim Mancinelli, Sandy Crimmins, Andrew Bradley, Michele Belluomini; in fact everyone we have been privileged to have worked with...we heard in the lead up to running the Press.

We continue to publish Philadelphia based poets. Or poets with strong connections to the city, like Kristine Grow and in the Fall of 2008, Dan Mcguire .

That's who we are as a Press. Katy and I used to walk through Old City , and I recall many times standing in front of the historical marker on the spot where Common Sense was published. Philadelphia is steeped in our history, in our mythology, in our blood.

At the end of the reading series run, I wanted to capture the moment so I asked all the poets who had been featured to submit a poem for an anthology which we ended up calling NOW!(then) and is pictured above. 33 poets did send a poem in and it was a wonderful collection. Katy's last minute twist was the suggest we print the cover on vellum. Quite literally the first handful of copies were "hot off the presses" as Katy had to apply an iron to the cover the dry the ink . We used the wrong kind of vellum, but hey -it's a keepsake with a trove of great poets included and we might note that it sparked Larry Robin to come up with his own anthologies for the marvelous 100 poet events each year. We like when the ripple effect happens, one never knows what the "unanticipated consequences" will be, but it's always worth the doing of a thing to find out.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Philly area bookstores we are involved with

"When the press moved to Philadelphia in 2003, we started up a relationship with Robin's Bookstore at 13th and Sansom Streets ( It is touted as the oldest independent bookstore in Philadelphia. It's got history, it's got family-like clientele, and it's got a jam-packed events schedule. Robin's was very accommodating and nurturing and we met some really talented poets and some really good friends. It was a bit DIY to make readings happen, but we lived close by so it worked out nicely. Now that we're in Virginia it's not as easy so we haven't been able to host as much there. Our newest PBPer, Kristine Grow, will be having a book party there tonight, April 24, 2008, in fact.

In 2004 we met Angie Roach who was just starting up a bookstore in the Bourse building in Old Town called Voices and Visions. We had some great readings there too and enjoyed working with Angie. It held so much promise, but for one reason or another it wobbled and is regretfully no longer around.

There's a gentrifying little city in southeastern PA called Phoenixville. It's about a half hour outside Philadelphia. Among neat little shops, restaurants is Wolfgang Books ( It serves as both a new and used bookstore, providing excellent selections of all types of literature. The owners were fantastic and let us set up a once-per-month reading schedule all to our little selves. Occasionally we are able to travel north and attend the readings. We thoroughly enjoy the time we get to spend with our authors whom we rarely get to see in person.

Please check out our schedule of events . You won't regret attending one. If you have any ideas for other venues or would like to get a Plan B Poet in your store or venue, please contact us at"

Katy Jean May
Creative Director

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kristine Grow's "Petal Whispers"

We became aware of the talents of Kristine Grow through hearing her read in Philadelphia, and getting ahold of her self-published first chapbook, Long Draw. When she submitted this mss. for consideration, we instantly saw the potential here. Katy made some wonderful images, and the book really works!!

Kristine lives and reads in the Philadelphia area, so if you can't get to hear her in person - please check her webpage and do buy her book, especially you start planting your own garden.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Our Back Pages

Since starting the press ten years ago we have published 40 books. Some have been reprinted several times, some are still in their first run. For various reasons some books have sold out, not to be reprinted. We are proud of the books we have brought out, and each publishing experience has made us a better press. So although some of our books have gone out of print, they can still be seen on Our Back Pages.


Katy Jean May
Creative Director

Monday, April 21, 2008

new books coming from Plan B Press

we are very excited about our latest set of releases, The Dragonfly Constellation, by F. J. Bergmann and ____want/need by C L Bledsoe. Bergmann's book is a collection of sci-fi poetry and the material is handled extremely well. Before receiving this manuscript, I wasn't really aware that there was something called 'sci-fi poetry', but I can state that this book ought to be seen as a model of the form. This collection should be available by the end of the week.

as should the new collection by C L Bledsoe - his little collection is an interesting exploration into form and meaning using the crossword puzzle motif as it's structure.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy NPM, by the way

hope you are filling your tank with poetry
it's cheaper than gasoline at the moment
and goes so much further in the long run
one's soul runs on poetry

now, where was I?

the thing about having kids is that they completely alter one's sense of time and purpose.
Last October, our son William was born. He was the second child we had had in 18 months. '2 under 2' as I like to remind people. IN the process of dealing with them and the Press, this blog was forgotten in the shuffle.

sorry about that

s - a - m