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.

Friday, November 19, 2010

thanks again to Jim Mancinelli (for hosting a series)

We want to again thank Jim Mancinelli for his incredible efforts in securing and hosting the poetry series in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Here are Joyce Meyers reading from her Plan B Press chapbook, Wild Mushrooms, in 2009 in the first location of the series and Daniel Collins at the new location reading from his chapbook of go & why. We know all too well that curating and hosting a poetry series anywhere is a labor of love. We appreciate Jim's love of the art.

Thanks Jim!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Commenting on two Plan B Press chapbooks

Richard Erdmann
Plan B Press
Stay-at-Home Press

The Mutual Life
Relationships, Colonization and Other Accidents
A Manual of Reference
James Thomas Stevens
Plan B Press

I hesitate writing about previous chapbooks published by Plan B Press here since it has felt like a conflict of interest. However the thrust of my comments here have to do with the books published by one of our divisions : Stay At Home Press. Not that that matters terribly much except that I have a bit less to do with this division than our “running man” division of the Press. As a way of explaining ourselves; I digress:

The concept behind Stay–at-Home Press is the attempt to wed image with text in a more realizable way. And to do this in the “book” format, not relying on or hiding behind the non-conventions of the e-book. To produce something a person can hold : a book. This, of course, was only the most basic reason for developing this new division of the Press. One of the statements that our Press tries to adhere to came from El Lissitzky who in 1931 wrote: “The book must be the unified work of author and the designer. As long as this is not the case, splendid exteriors will constantly be produced for unimportant contents, and visa-versa.

Our first attempt was Richard Erdmann’s chapbook Without. This chapbook melded text with image and image with text on. It was more of an experiment than a finished project, in hindsight I say, and as often happens – the poet disappeared into this “day clothes”. It happens. What remains is the chapbook - what has been lost is the meaning or the attempted meaning of the work.

The project that SHOULD have been the first Stay-at-Home Press book was James Thomas Stevens’ 2006 chapbook The Mutual Life . Stevens took much of the language as well as the illustrations that exist in the chapbook and the recreated cover from the original 1901 Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York: Accidents, Emergencies, and Illnesses published BY The Mutual Life of New York. The chapbook itself was the second phase of the work; it was created in 2004 for a writers convention and then published by Plan B Press as the fullest expression of its potentiality (complete with use of same font headings, etc.) before landing in a more neutered state with his 2007 Salt Publishing full book entitled A Bridge Dead in the Water. (the version that exists in that book is devoid of illustrations and the font matches the rest of the book) Besides being the most true expression of the merging of image with text, it presented the most compelling argument for the creation of the Stay-at-Home Division to date. However, Without was not successful as the first effort.

There will surely be more to come from this division as manuscripts continue to come our way with stronger visual elements. At the same time, there are entire publishing firms that dwell only in the e-book universe which challenges the dimension and understanding of what “text” and “book” will mean in the 21st century. Since we intend to being around for a while, it's in our best interest to make the most stunning books that we can. That remains our overall goal.

Friday, October 15, 2010

AT the printers right now

are our two Fall releases :

Third Girl by Finley Bullard Evans

One or Two Feathers by Jo Taylor

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

new videos up!

M. Magnus and Christophe Casamassima from the Oct. 1, 2010 Poetry Lab and W F Lantry from the 9/3/10 reading!

Plan B Press on Youtube

check it out!

s - a - m

Friday, October 01, 2010

don't believe the hype

here's yet another article dealing with the pronouncements by some "pundits" that print media is dead - or about to be dead - and is misleading as the night is long. Technology Review

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the mouse is about to roar


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

adding language to our website

Over the weekend we read two stories dealing with the demise of publishing and the crowning "achievement" of e-books, prompting us at Plan B Press to adding language to our website that we PUBLISH ON PAPER. We believe in print. We believe in the physical thing that is a book. We believe in community structures called libraries and in rooms of one's home that are often called the same thing. We believe that there is something to thousands of years of writing and storing those writings that a devise can not compete with. To those who think of a book as a "bound text", then we can see them becoming excited about a devise that shows only text.

To those, however, who see a book as something more than text, we appeal to their nature - their truer nature - for we also see the book as something more than text, and always will. It is not enough to "talk the talk". We do not use Lulu, for example, since their operation is Print-on-Demand. We would rather work with human beings known for centuries as PRINTERS. Ben Franklin, for instance. A Printer! Another Philadelphia based publisher, Robert Bell, should be as famous as the author of a pamphlet he published in 1776 called Common Sense. These are real and actual people. Today, we are supposed to praise machines like The Expresso Book Machine for what they can potentially do "for publishing".

We don't buy the concept; nor the machine. Unless books made by machines are also made FOR machines, there is a flaw in the celebration for the emperor's new clothes. He is naked, as are the arguments toward paper-free books and machine generated books and an entire future programmed out of our (human) hands.

We will have none of it, thank you very much. Others see things entirely differently and that is their right. But, we like what we do and plan (B) to continue doing it for a long long time.

Monday, August 09, 2010

days of the summer dog

Time moves like molasses
the kids are too much, trapped inside when the heat index soars toward 100.
we live - we read (manuscripts), we publish(books), we try to stay cool.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

the problem of poetry on e-book format

This is why Plan B Press publishes books; Poetry and ebooks. ebooks may be the wave of the future, but they haven't perfected the presentation of poetry just yet. Good!

Poetry is a niche "market", if you will, and small presses are more dedicated to its presentation than e-book companies because small presses are invested in the art form more, those who profit from e-books treat poetry as "just another text" and it's not. It's possible that in the future, perhaps even the near future, that poetry and visual poetry will be achieved properly in an electronic format, but as of today - As of today, poetry is still best served by publishers like Plan B Press.

Friday, July 16, 2010

congrats go out to Kim Roberts

(this photo was taken in April 2010 at the Historical Society of Washington DC )

The fabulous Kim Roberts in July 2010 was awarded the Washington On-Line Award for her contribution to the Washington, DC Arts Community. The award was presented by Grace Cavalieri, president of The Bunny and the Crocodile Press and Forest Woods Media Productions, on behalf of the writers of DC. This was the inaugural award of what is planned to be an annual event.

To say that Kim Roberts has become a fixture in the DC literary and historical communities is a vast understatement. We are very fortunate to have teamed up with her for the making of Full Moon on K Street.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

new book out - Janet McCann's House

We are proud to announce that the winner of the 2010 poetry chapbook contest, Janet McCann, has her chapbook freshly released and available to all. It's $9.00. It's available through the Plan B Press website and will soon be available through Amazon as well.


s - a - m

Friday, July 02, 2010

Special Plan B Press issue of Beltway Poetry Journal

Kim Roberts asked me a few months back to put together a history of the Plan B Press for a special issue of her much acclaimed Beltway Poetry Journal, and that issue is now up. We are grateful for the consideration and for the opportunity to have made a lasting impression in the Washington DC poetry community that we believe publishing Full Moon on K Street has given us.



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jim Mancinelli moves his series....

Jim informed me today that his series will be moving to the Slingluff Gallery 11 West Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA effective immediately.

thanks for you continued interest

s - a - m

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Congratulations all around!

First of all, congratulation to Janet McCann from Texas for winning our 2010 poetry chapbook contest for her collection "House".
This book will be available soon!!

Additionally, congrats go out to Corey Mesler for the release of novel Following Richard Brautigan published by Livingston Press and to Liz Abrams-Morley for the release of her full-length collection Necessary Turns published by Word Press. Each of these books were published in different forms by Plan B Press in the past. Following Richard Brautigan won the 2005 Plan B Press short fiction contest. We published an early sliver of the final novel.

Liz Abrams-Morley's new book of poetry Necessary Turns grew out of the chapbook we published entitled "What Winter Reveals" in 2006. A number of the poems in that collection including the title piece made their way into the new book.

Also, we are glad to announce that Robert Miltner has recently won the the New Rivers Press book award competition for his full length book, Hotel Utopia, which will be out in October 2011 . We published his 2006 chapbook, Canyons of Sleep.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

operating Plan B Press AND teammay simultaneously...

So this is how it works : since 2003, Katy Jean May (Creative Director) and stevenallenmay (co-founder and head honcho) have run the day-to-day operations of Plan B Press as it has grown and matured. In April 2006 our first assistant arrived - her name was Julia Jean. Almost from the moment she came home from the hospital we wondered where in the organization she would be most productive. It has taken her awhile but she is now getting into the swing of things, helping Mommy collate pages for special projects (our own codeword for books before they are ready for sale).

Here's a recent pic of Mommy with Julia working on Michael Fisher's new chapbook, Wolf Spider.

Plan B Press churns out their mighty chapbooks and incredible perfect bound books from their little nest of domestic bliss. It's an odd combination of chaos and bliss. This is one reason that there are fixed limits to the number of books that appear each season. The kids are still a higher priority than the Press, it's as simple as that. While it's true that most of the creative stuff comes from Katy's magic fingers, there are times when s - a- m has to "mule-up" and pull his share of physical production. This is in addition to the lugging of cartons around, filling orders, and generally barking orders at our collected houseplants. The plants are really useless.

While it's true that Julia loves to talk about poetry and do what she can for "the running man" Press, as she calls it, our second assistant hasn't really made any effort to fit in yet. He's cute, that's why we keep him around. I tend not to trust him alone in a room full of recently published books. He's 2 years old, and ah - unpredictable. When he gets quiet I usually rush to check what mischief he has gotten into. We know better than leave out projects that are incomplete. We court disaster if we allow William free rein. He thinks we mean "free reign". Perhaps he will be our court jester too, it remains to be seen.

he is cute though, isn't he?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

so, poetry....

Over the past few months, my kids have been engaging me in post-bathtub conversations before they go off the bed. These conversations begin the same, "so, poetry...." and it's become a developing piece of mine by the same title. It's a performance piece and the entire piece is composed of my kids limited understanding of what poetry is. They overhear snippets of conversations between Katy and myself as we discuss the Press, or of poets who visit our house, or from watching video tape of poets reading at various poetry events in the mid-1990's.

Among the lines that my kids recite almost nightly are "poetry is our friend, poetry likes us" and "poetry kills people for real". So when I saw this book, I had to get it for the title alone. Poets Never Kill (that should end the debate entirely, except the one arguing that poetry DOES kill people is 2 years old)

Actually, my kids' understanding of poetry is about on par with the majority of Americans understanding of poetry. Perhaps we need to focus on getting kids informed, and liking it, before we attempt to "educate the masses". Who are the masses anyway but large numbers of former kids! Happy Mid-poetry month! "so, Daddy, let's talk about poetry...."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

updating Plan B Press

The latest book we have brought out is Joseph Kerschbaum's Your Casual Survival (the air & the echo). Joseph is 1/4 of an Indiana-based poetry troupe called Reservoir Dogwoods. He along with fellow Dogwood member, Tony Brewer, will be at the next Poetry Lab in Vienna, VA on April 2, 2010. In fact, their appearance will be part of their mini-tour which they are calling "Bottomless Cheetah Blood Tourette"

here's their tour dates:

Thurs 1 April
Zanzibar Brews
740 E. Long St.
Columbus, OH

Fri 2 April
The Soundry
316 Dominion Rd.
Vienna, VA

Sat 3 April
Wild Goose Creative
2491 Summit Street
Columbus, OH
7p - $5 cover

I am glad to say that I am particularly happy that their 3rd leg of the tour will be at Wild Goose Creative in Columbus, Ohio. They held Talia Weisz & Jason Venner book release gig back in December. Good people there. If you are going to be heading through Ohio, trying to set up an event at Wild Goose is an option worth checking out.

Additionally, we are more than happy to announce that Dan Maguire's chapbook Finding the Words has gone into a 5th printing. Incredible, Dan, you are the Everready Bunny, aren't you?

till soon


Sunday, March 07, 2010

due to successful emergence of the Poetry Lab...

we are creating a Poetry Lab blog to document this fantastic new series.....
suffice it to say that we are overwhelmed with positive feedback we have so far received, and are impressed with the 30 people who showed up for a 10PM start in Vienna, VA!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

the next twist : Plan B Press @the Soundry

s - a - m has been working to establish a new series at the Soundry in Vienna, VA called "the Poetry Lab". Working with Saul Rosenberg of Poetry Pure Poetry and Tommy Tavenner, a vision of the future is being explored once a month. Saul taped and posted the first batch of videos onto YouTube.


in March 2010, CL Bledsoe will be reading at the Poetry Lab, in May 2010 Daniel Collins will be performing. Both were published by Plan B Press. The April event will feature Tony Brewer and Joseph Kerschbaum of Indianapolis, IN - each with a freshly published chapbook by Plan B Press. (Brewer - Little Glove in a Big Hand, Kerschbaum - Your Casual Survival)

more to come!

s - a - m

Friday, February 12, 2010

Following Richard Brautigan by Corey Mesler

In 2005 I decided that the short fiction contest that Plan B Press held would be a "Beat Generation" themed contest as the year marked the 50th anniversary of the first reading of Howl by Allen Ginsberg. I went to such lengths as to secure a number of fairly obscure Beat titles as part of the winning prize and secured ruth weiss to write the foreword to the winning chapbook. As it happened, the judge selected Corey Mesler's entry Following Richard Brautigan.

Now almost 5 years later, the complete novel by Corey is being published by Livingston Press. The click above comes from Corey's own source. The section he reads from is contained in the winning chapbook. The chapbook sports Mesler in a well known Brautigan cover pose.

We couldn't be happier for Corey's upcoming success. It's long overdue. Cheers to you, Corey Mesler. Enjoy the ride!!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Full Moon on K Street anthology is IN THE NEWS!

See the article in Sunday Feb. 7, 2010 Washington Post Style section written by Dan Zak :

"Chicago has Carl Sandburg's fog, coming on little cat feet. Los Angeles has Bukowski's drunks, sleeves soaking up spilt booze. New York has as many poets as rats. Washington has . . . what, exactly? Its reputation in popular poetry is that of a way station for gestating genius, a quarry of one-liners chipped into monuments, the coronation spot of a poet laureate who lives elsewhere.

Quote a line from a poem that captures the capital as a place to live.


Couldn't, until now.

'Full Moon on K Street' -- the first anthology of modern poetry to be wholly for, about and by current and former Washington residents -- teems with poets who've distilled the region's lifeblood into verse over the past 50 years."




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Full Moon on K Street anthology is HERE

the books have arrived, the books have arrived. the books !
gorgeously done cover by Katy Jean May. 101 poems expertly edited by Kim Roberts.
The first reading at Folger Shakespeare Theatre went swimmingly well, congrats all around.
more to follow!

s - a - m

Monday, January 11, 2010

the anthologies are here!

the gorgeous Full Moon on K Street : Poems about Washington DC has arrived and tonight, Jan. 11, 2010, at Folger's Theater in Washington DC as part of the beginning of their Spring season. It's the first time that Folgers is presenting a local reading and it's going to be quite an event. Will post pix later (should there be a shutterbug in the house)

Monday, January 04, 2010

noting two passings, Dennis Brutus and Don Belton

In my time in Philadelphia as Katy and I were taking over the daily operations of Plan B Press, I got to meet any number of fantastically talented and influential people. Two of them died over the holidays.

I got to know Dennis Brutus through his friendship and association with poet/publisher Lamont Steptoe and Larry Robin of Robins Bookstore, who created the Celebration of Black Writing in 1984 as a natural outgrowth of the very successful Black Ink program that been on-going at Robins for many years. The gentleman I met was full of grace and determination, a man bursting with energy and righteous cause. His presence, his shadow, will continue to be seen and felt by all who knew him and heard his words.

Don Belton was the kindest, most gentle man I met in Philadelphia. The tragic end of his life reminds me of the horrible ending of Matthew Shepard's life. Why is it that homophobes claim that they are assaulted by gay men as a justification for the hate in their own hearts, trying to justify murder of people who would not harm a fly? For anyone who wishes to know more about the moves in Indiana to seek justice for Don Belton please go to Justice for Don Belton.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Full Moon on K Street comes out soon

Plan B Press is happy to announce that it is taking pre-orders for Full Moon on K Street: Poems about Washington D.C. at a discounted rate until Jan. 10, 2010. Featuring over one hundred contemporary poems, the book captures DC's unique sense of place, from monuments to parks, from lawyers to bus stations, from go-go music to chili half-smokes.
All poems were written between 1950 and the present, by past and current residents of the city. Edited by Kim Roberts, the publisher of the acclaimed online journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly, this anthology captures the city's many moods: celebratory, angry, and fiercely political.

Contributors include: two-time US Poet Laureate Reed Whittemore; DC's first Poet Laureate, Sterling A. Brown; senator and five-time presidential candidate Eugene J. McCarthy; Cervantes prize winner for lifetime achievement in Spanish-language literature, Jose Emilio Pacheco; renowned gay rights activist Essex Hemphill; and President Obama's official inauguration poet, Elizabeth Alexander.

A number of readings will take place throughout 2010, in the greater Washington DC area (and one in Chicago) It's a developing year-long celebration. To see a listing of readings throughout 2010, please check out the Plan B Press events page or at Beltway Poetry Quarterly