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, December 03, 2008

Robin's Bookstore - on the closing

Katy alluded yesterday to the fact that I worked at Robin's for a period of time, which technically was true, from 2002-2003. I was the poetry & special events coordinator, website manager, and poetry series host from April 2002 - Dec. 2003. I hosted and curated the Eternal NOW! series which concluded with the Now!(then) anthology of the series. That anthology was the forerunner of Larry's 100 poet anthologies since then. I/we did have a minor impact on some events at Robin's.

But I would suggest that others knew and were much more involved with Larry Robin and the bookstore and the Moonstone organization that I was. Eleanor Wilner, for example, came up with the idea of 100 poets readings in support of Robin's and created the first of those readings in 1996. She also sat on the board of Moonstone. Herschal Baron had been the poetry host at Robin's for decades prior to my arrival in the city. Lamont Steptoe was often in the store, set up at the round table near the poetry section or up in the offices.

Robin's has been an institution in Philadelphia. 73 years. Reaching back to another space in time. It's history has been colorful to say the least. Larry has run the bookstore for over 30 years and started the nonprofit organization, Moonstone, with his wife Sandy back in 1983. The organization helped to start and run the Moonstone pre-school. Larry also started the Black Writers festival which is now run by Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia. His footprint is deep in the city and his bookstore has been literally THOUSANDS of poets and writers come into its doors for readings and signings.

Considering the long history of the bookstore and the Moonstone organization, my time there was a few fleeting moments. Yet, I was glad for the opportunity and will relish the memories forever. I have to thank Larry for allowing me to present 'the Eternal NOW!' series since it brought me in contact with many of the Plan B Press poets that we have since published and after I ended the series there, the space was made available to me to begin the "Plan B Press presents..." experiments of group readings and readings with musicians and mulitmedia artists. Bookstore as art hothouse. It was a great time!

Larry also wrote a letter of recommendation which helped me to get into the Art Management program at George Mason University, thus securing our exit from the city. Now, if there were only a way back.....

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