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, October 28, 2008

A Bit of a blur

It all bleeds together, honestly, and at times it is both hard to fathom and explain. In addition to running our little Press, and chasing around two kids still in diapers, I also write when I can in a number of blogs that are in some fundamental ways quite related.

This blog is about our Press and our “focus” on publishing but it would behoove us to write about all the overlapping interests and directions of the Press as well. For example, case in point: last night I went to the local library which puts out free books for their patrons to take home with them and I have in the past found some incredible gems that I couldn’t believe were being discarded for FREE, but what the hey….if they put them out to be taken, I will take some! So last night I took a 1934 book called Author Hunting by Grant Richards. The full title is “Author Hunting by an Old Literary Sports Man” with the subtitle “Memories of Years Spent Mainly in Publishing, 1897-1925”.

I am not familiar with Grant Richards nor his publishing career but it’s refreshing to be reminded in these days of faceless bureaucratic publishing monoliths, which have become the literary norm, that once publishers were individuals who loved literature and brought out books that they loved passionately. Yes, our little Press came into being during the post-mimeograph revolution era at the time when some presses began to embrace the “Print-On-Demand” concept as their best way of surviving. But I think of ourselves more as the inheritors of the tradition going back to William Morris and the Kelmscott Press of the late Nineteenth Century. Publishing as a noble endeavor, there was a time when that was true. And frankly, that’s part of what Plan B Press is trying to do as well.

We want our readers to appreciate the effort put into that “thing” in their hands. Not only the quality of the work, but the quality of the object that one commonly calls ‘a book’. That’s what we strive for and have, on occasion, achieved in full. We are part of that stream which has its headwaters in the clay tablets of Sumer and cave writings even further back. We are part of a tradition and it’s important for us to maintain a certain awareness of what we are doing in order to keep it “flowing” onward.

We don’t believe in POD. We don’t believe in publishing books just to bulk up our yearly numbers. We publish projects that we believe in. We try to make the best book that we can every time out. We want to be remembered in the future in the same way that people think of Toothpaste Press or the Perishable Press limited. Perhaps lofty aspirations, but if you don’t reach for the stars – you will never reach them. As Katy has said in previous blog entries a time or two, “the little Press that could”. Yeah, we think we can….we think we can….we think we can, and then we DO!

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