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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

lost in the day-to-day

Lost in the day-to-day, struggling through sleepless nights and the blur of days. These two are the most responsible for our current condition and situation. They aren't very good at editing or book stapling or cataloguing but they know to make a house-wide mess of their own book. Their grandma just brought them a dollhouse which doubles as a bookcase, and boy does it.

I went back to the National Gallery in DC and wrote out the text to the Agnes Meyer-Marius de Zayas piece, Mental Reaction. I can hear the piece. I can hear a woman reading this piece. I wonder if it had ever BEEN read or performed, or if its life ended when it was used in 291 magazine back in 1915-16.

Katy & I have two kids, Julia and William. William AKA "Dexy" scratched his mom in the eye on Sunday and caused a corneal abrasion. We were at the emergency room of the local hospital at 3AM yesterday (was it yesterday? yes, it was). Kids make life so.... interesting.

I was reading a book on Gertrude Stein recently (reached a certain page and then stopped; got distracted) and the author was discussing the friendship between Stein and Picasso, and said of Picasso's studio that it was "fruitful disorder". I would use the phrase "creative chaos" to define our lives at the moment. It's challenging to be domestic and creative at the same time, in the same space.

but, we keep pushing the boulder up that hill all the same....

s - a - m

Monday, August 11, 2008

of go & why - Daniel Collins

As we both recall, Dan and myself, it was in 2003 - it was during the poetry festival I was presenting in Philadelphia called "Poets Among Us" and he appeared at one of the events and read during the open, and I heard the voice of Kerouac revived through his words and mouth, this unknown, this Daniel Collins recently arrived from Ithaca, NY where he had made his mark via Compassionately Stoneground Books. And my jaw dropped at the sound of him, the manner and poise and altogether of him. Come to find out he had indeed read Kerouac but won't claim to be channeling him. He was more than the words on the page or the voice that revealed them.

He was a musician as well, and his 'for-food-and-rent' job was that of a documentary filmmaker. But hidden in him as well as this talent, this SELF so clearly and unmistakenly older than his years. We invited him to read at future events and over time decided that what he possessed needed to be brought out in book form. So was born 'of go & why'.

And now in its third printing, we tout him even moreso for the future he is, for the words he utters, for the vision he sees.

thanks Daniel
may your road be filled with adventure

s - a - m

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Picture books

I think imagery within books is something that has been neglected from much of adult literature for too long. Graphic novels still don't carry the same esteem that standard novels do which is unfortunate. But it's a new animal, relatively speaking, so we'll give it a chance. It really must step even further away from the comic book mold to gain the sort of widespread recognition that it deserves.

But what do you think? Should most novels be illustrated to some degree or should they remain strictly text as they have been? Send us your thoughts.

Katy Jean May
Creative Director

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

recent trip to national gallery

So, we live close to Washington DC and for the first time since the birth of our son, William, we ventured into the city during business hours to see some art at the National Gallery. Katy wanted to see the Afghanistan exhibition and I wanted to see the Max Ernst books and new acquisitions. Among the new acquisitions was a collage piece made by Marius De Zayas and Agnes Meyers called 'Mental Reaction" created in 1915. It is the earliest example of American concrete or visual poetry known to exist, and it was the first time I knew of its existence.

I will have to go back and read the text, perhaps even write down the lines. (it's hard to do with two little tikes under foot). I wasn't impressed with the Ernst stuff because I have a book of his visual work and the space they placed his work in was a forgotten walkway between bigger rooms, unimpressive.

I am quite interested in visual / concrete poetry. from Mallarme to Norman H. Pritchard to today's quite visual artists. Plan B Press has ventured into more visual work before, and will be plunging into it more in the future. I don't for a second, however, want to suppose that we are doing something brand new. We believe in the past. By that I mean, we believe and understand that something came before us - that we might be reclaiming an idea but that many ideas have already been conceived and attempted. But when the general public "doesn't get it", ideas dry up like morning dew.

There's always that dilemma: trying something new and being understood at the time one is making the initial effort. Take, for example, the collage I am mentioning here. Its existence was not known until it came up for auction in 2007. So, for the better part 90 years it was not exhibited, written about, or viewed. It existed on a page from '291', the magazine associated with Alfred Stieglitz's gallery in New York.

Now that it is OUT THERE perhaps it will be seen for the exceptional creation that it was.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Not Enough Hours in the Day

Steven and I often say that there are just not enough hours in the day- to spend with our kids, to read the paper, to spend time together, to create art, to read books- just not enough time. After a long day of working and tending to two little tots there just isn't much energy left to devote to our own pursuits.

When I was in college I had a teacher that lectured to us that we needed to find a way to practice our art. Don't tell me you don't have the time. I worked all day long, two jobs, came home and painted until the morning, Slept a few hours and back to work again. There's no excuse for not getting the work done. It felt a bit like those when-I-was-a-kid-I-walked-a-mile-in-the-snow-with-no-shoes-on types of stories, but we humored him because after all we were paying him handsomely.

In some ways, he's right, we make time for certain things. Whether it's television, or internet news, telephone conversations or magazines, we often choose not to get certain things done. I'll write when the kids are napping. I'll sketch during my morning commute instead. I just want to relax right now. Making art is not relaxing. It's work. It takes concentration, energy, focus, drive. It's not a passive activity.

So that's where I differ from my teacher's avowal that we have no excuses for getting the work done. Sure I can throw myself into night projects and wake up bleary-eyed the next day and zombie my way through work and home, my daughter saying, Mommy whatsa matter? But I guess I choose to both take care of my family and be alert at my job; and I choose to read to my daughter at night and bathe my kids. I choose to sideline my art so that I can participate in the lives that are growing around me in my home.

Sometimes in life there are choices that just don't seem like choices. In the end, there just are not enough hours in the day.

Katy Jean May
Creative Director & Mommy