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.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall 2011 Break & 2012 Super Spring Season

We have not released any books this Fall. The first time since 2002 that we have had no autumn releases. I refuse to use the word "drop," as in "the book drops next week," because it's a horrible phrase that needs to stop being used now.

We hope to get a head start on the Spring 2012 season and maybe get a 2012 pre-order package together. The pre-order would consist of all of the year's books plus a bonus book or broadside, all at a slightly discounted price. We are very excited about this idea and hope to have it up and running this coming spring.

So, where we've often been linking to articles on different literary news, we hope to also let you know how the next season shapes up. Please sign up for our email notifications at planbpress.com.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

keeping it alive and real

Brunel's academic griot will 'fight dead image of poetry'

it's important always to keep it real

Thursday, September 08, 2011

new review of Full Moon on K Street

One of the most pleasant things that has come from our experience of publishing Full Moon on K Street is the seemingly unending gush of positives reviews its been receiving, most recently this one: berniE-zine Book Reviews

We are ever so thankful for having been able to make an impact in the Washington DC literary psyche. A footprint by whatever size is still a footprint. Kim Roberts is a marvel, you know?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

the typewriter lives on in India

The Typewriter in India. It's refreshing to see that a technology given up for dead has maintained a presence and purpose in India. Much like the commentary that poetry is dead - or dying - or in decline - or on life support; the news of the demise is greatly exaggerated. Poetry isn't going to be center of our culture in the US, in a country where marketplace determines value something like poetry isn't going to be "valued" all that highly. Yet, it doesn't mean its going to go the way of the Dodo bird either.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Physics for Poets




it defies words, really

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

older article praising chapbooks

A friend of mine sent me this earlier this summer, but as it's summer it got lost in the shuffle of the season. It's still valid and still true Poetry Pamphlets by John Greening.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

quote from The Razor's Edge by Maugham

I am not the greatest fan of W Somerset Maugham but I was speed reading The Razor's Edge and found this wonderful quote (it rings so so true)

"I thought with melancholy how an author spends months writing a book, and maybe puts his heart's blood into it,
and it lies about unread till the reader has nothing else in the world to do."
page 282

exactly. Bingo. Perfect.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

from NPR - Book Business beyond Borders

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

to our Philly roots

An Independent bookseller in Wayne

Found this article and was touched by the on-going difficulties of independent book sellers in the Philadelphia region. Not surprisingly, Plan B Press was not enamored with the Corporate bookstores that gobbled up the market in Philly in the 1990s. They drove many a fine bookseller out of business, only to be driven out of business themselves by the new behemoth, Amazon. However, some people actually like human interaction and a faceless cyber presence isn't their cup of tea.

Circling back to bookstores with real people in them. Knowledgeable folks. Well-read folks. Bookies, for goodness sake! Praise be to them all!

If you live near Wayne, PA, you should stop in and say hello. For everyone else, support independent book sellers and publishers whenever possible!


best

stevenallenmay

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Money changed Poetry (magazine)

Poetry Magazine! There's a big story in Chicago Times about the new fortunes (not good but impressively new) of Poetry Magazine which got $200 MILLIONS dollars a decade ago. I don't generally read Poetry but have read about the largess that the Foundation and Magazine received with bemused interest.

What emerges, in my view, is a cautionary tale of what happens when wildest dreams come true. Not what anyone expected - that's the reality! There is so much money that the Foundation Board blew $21 MILLION dollars on new digs for the Magazine (and Foundation?) complete with a 125 seat theater. Nice, but aren't there still a few thousand needy poets starving on the streets of America? Can't help a fellow poet get a meal or a place to stay? That isn't in the new mandate or mission? But, $200,000,000.00 is a large sum of money for 26,000 paying Poetry magazine subscribers, isn't it? What ELSE are you planning to do with your windfall, Poetry Foundation, create a theme park?

I'm just sayin'

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is the definition of a "Small Press"?

There is currently a good deal of buzz surrounding Go The F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Richardo Cortes. While I applaud their efforts and marvel at their impending success, I am nonetheless a bit put off by the notion in the media that the publisher, Akashic Books, is a “small press”. It depends how that term is defined. Compared to the handful of behemoth publishers in the world, certainly Akashic is “small”. At the same time, mostly overlooked in the glowing press about this book and its publisher, is the fact that Akashic was started with $70,000.00 in 2002. That’s right, SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!

Front-ended, at the beginning, 70K. Considering that many “small Presses” begin with an idea and/or a concept (and nothing else), $70,000.00 is a significant “leg-up” in the publishing world. I happened to have met the principle head of Akashic Books in 2003 at the Lehigh Valley Writers Conference and Johnny Temple came across as an earnest and thoughtful person, a nice enough guy. I am happy for the success of the Press, it gives hope for all “small presses” out there. At the same time, all things are not equal and having that much JUMP on the competition does place Akashic at the upper end of what is “small” in Press terms.

Again, compared to Random House, they are peanuts. Compared to Toothpaste Press or the perishable press limited, two “start up” presses from the 1970’s, Temple’s operation seems to have had an unfair advantage. However, the newsprint media tends to be lazy enough to not distinguish from a truly small press and one that is smaller than a BILLION dollar concern but much more “flush” than a Press that frequents Kinkos to print out their books.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spoken word artist gunned down in Miami

what does it say about our society when poets are gunned down on the street?

Spoken Word Artist Willie Lee Bell shot in Miami

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Anne Blonstein (1958-2011) RIP


We were contacted this morning by Charles Lock informing us that Anne Blonstein had died on April 19th. It was conveyed to us in the following manner, that Anne would be very pleased to know her chapbook that those lips had language was going to be in the Beinecke. He then told me that she had died of cancer. Here's a brief obit and her current Wikipedia page link. The page does not yet mention her death:

Anne Blonstein

Anne , poet, died (cancer) in the Ita Wegman Clinic, Arlesheim, Switzerland, on 19 April 2011. Born on 22 April 1958, she had lived since 1983 in Basel; she leaves a brother, Steven. A celebratory reading will be held in Basel later this year.

Anne Blonstein

I had the pleasure of reading the mss. "that those lips had language" during our 2004 poetry chapbook contest and while I didn't believe it would win, I decided to keep the copy aside and return to it later. Which I did the following year when it published it, our first European poet, with much "across the pond" issues and problems mostly centered around Anne's insistence at using as her cover image a piece of art by Aloise Corbaz. It was also our first chapbook to have 4 prices in 4 different currencies listed on the back.

Anne and I had kept in touch even as her publishing fortunes improved and Plan B continued to add new poets and titles. Until illness forced her focus on sheer survival and I, not the worse for my ignorance, kept including her in our email blasts about new books and readings.

She's left us with a body of work, which for a writer is what needs to be left. The work. A clean body of that when the physical one betrays us.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

end of the typewriter

a technology barely 100 years old is about to go the way of the Dodo bird


Last Typewriter Factory Closes


Many a writer will be greatly disheartened. It's a bit sad to be sure. I like manual typewriters more than electric ones. My personal preference.


long live the typewrite and all the words that were produced thusly.


till soon


stevenallenmay

Monday, April 25, 2011

want to share a bit of WOW

was notified earlier today that a copy of everything that Plan B Press has in print has been ordered by Yale University. That's right, Plan B Press books will be in the Yale library very soon! Exciting stuff!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

and now, we have a winner.....

Congratulations go out to Michael Fallon for his collection, Since You Have No Body. Winner of the 2011 poetry chapbook contest.

Monday, March 21, 2011

the entanglements of e-books

so, problems that don't exist with physical books - when to "erase" text! From the NY Times, Publishers and Libraries struggle over terms of e-books

more things to consider when wanting your work to go digital.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

we could always coordinate by color

Home Decor for Bookworms


some people think of books as color swaths. ugh

Friday, March 11, 2011

tattooed poetry



I don't think I am really to go here but it certainly is an interesting conceptual idea. I haven't sat down and watched ten minutes of single word poetry reading but -

it does remind me of a photographer I knew in the 1990s who wrote a poem in three parts across the naked chests of three different people and then photographed the piece. It's similar to that.

and it's a permanent poem that has yet to be "captured" on paper.


enjoy!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Two New Releases! Spring 2011

Available right now: Voice Lesson's by Paulette Beete. A beautiful chapbook of poems focusing on a woman's many manifestations of finding her voice. Rich narrative poems. And the first release of the season!

Available for pre-order: Android by Lek Borja. Concise poetry exploring themes of alienation and post-modern living. Preorder today and save $2.

Friday, March 04, 2011

memory flashbacks while working on a new project..




.....so, the project I am working on currently is to comb through numerous VHS tapes which were recorded between 1995 and 2001 on which were countless poetry readings (in full) and recorded episodes of a public access TV show I produced during the same time frame called "(re)VERSE". (re)VERSE was a 30 minute poetry explosion - sort of MTV for the local poetry scene - and the reason I am combing these videos is to find the scattered readings of my own work, in particular the pieces that were to become my first book Plastic Sunrise. That book came out in 2003 just as I was about to present a monthlong poetry festival in Philadelphia called "Poets Among US".

I am going through these tapes with the intention of capturing the bits of me reading poems which make up Plastic Sunrise for a companion DVD for PS. And here I am going through tapes that I haven't viewed in years, an archive of a period of time in a specific area (Central Pennsylvania in the mid-to-late 1990s). The Monks Tunic in Lancaster, PA. Sahara Restaurant in Reading, PA. Butternut Inn in New Tripoli, PA. Stonehedge outside Tamaqua, PA. Other spaces I don't even recall and then I am floored by the incredible array of talent that was there. Many of whom have disappeared into the mist of memory. Awestruck, I fast forward through time (literally) to hear these great poets who faded back to the street or became Poet Laureate of the counties where they lived. And they were all sharing, reading, being present.

One of the poets from that place and time was Craig Czury who has served as Poet Laureate of Berks County, PA and who remarked over a decade ago that I was the archivist of "the scene", and I guess I had become that. Originally I was filming material for the TV show I created, that all changed in 1998 when I blathered out the whole "why not have a poetry reading every day of the month?" line which led directly to Bardfest, the Berks Bards, antijazz conspiracy, and Plan B Press.

Now I am threading the needle of my electronic recording machine to weave together the individual pieces of Plastic Sunrise soas to become a non-book book form of the material. Plastic Sunrise, the DVD footage. It's NOT an e-book, it's a DVD of my per(former) self presenting the work as it was originally written and unleashed. I do not merely "read" my work, there's a performative element in all of it. I am presenting live. Why present live like it's words trapped on yellowing dusty pages? Make the words KICK off the page. Don't hold the language hostage. Light the fuse and toss the bomb!

The project is about half complete - but it is so cool to see these stunning folk captured on tape from their "very, very past." I want to thank in advance Clint Weiler, Kerry Lance Graul, and Kim Rishaw-Seyler for manning the camera during that period. YOU are the videographers; you captured the moment. I just created the scene that you captured. Amen to collaboration!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

my response to "Langstongate"

I am still a relative newbie in Washington, DC (a transplant from Philly back in 2004) and have been a reluctant participant in the poetry scene here owing mostly to my being a Stay-at-Home Dad these days. However, I believe that changed permanently when Plan B Press brought out Kim Roberts’ Full Moon on K Street last year.

Coming from the original U.S. capital, as I have, to Washington has been curious to say the least. In particular, how does creative expression exist within the Federalist buildings, how can one find poetry in a city devoted to the running of the last great Superpower on earth? (watch out though, China is coming on fast!) Another thing that I have noticed is that the fissions I was used to in Philadelphia between poetry groups, and of reading series “centralism” is here as well. As Ice Cube once mused in his version of Bop Gun, “party over here, fuck you over there.”

There are a few key bookstores in DC where poetry is spotlighted, the most pronounced is Busboys & Poets. However, they aren’t the only one. In fact, Busboys and Poets is not primarily a bookstore. Politics and Prose is a bookstore with food service, Busboys and Poets is a restaurant with a bookstore at one end and the performance space at the other. The middle of the space is for EATING. It’s a commercial endeavor; make no mistake.

Having read the various special issues of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, I see that there have been many venues, poets and small presses that have, and do, grace this city with their presence. In the case of poetry VENUES, the problem with longevity is that the poetry host/poetry curators do no own the “means of production.” They are guests in someone else’s for-profit space. Poetry doesn’t own property in this city; and I am sure that if it did, some freshman Congressman from Wyoming would launch an investigation into how that could happen here. You think Langston Hughes left Washington DC because he wanted to?

Which, leads me to Langstongate – the removal of a cardboard cut-out image of Langston Hughes that cost, by my reading of events, $150.00. Does the owner of Busboys & Poets also own the exclusive ghost of all things “Langston”? Has the owner of Busboys & Poets paid a live poet $150.00 to read in his space? I hope the answer is YES because otherwise a cardboard cut-out of a dead poet would appear to be more valuable than any living poet to Busboys & Poets. The irony is too rich for my blood, I gotta tell you!

In his response to this situation, Dan Vera, who has recently launched “Poetry Mutual” with his collaborator Michael Gushue, has created a map of the DC area with all existing poetry reading series. It’s on the poetry mutual blog. I believe it’s instructive that poets and other interested parties get familiar with that map and make a point of visiting an event in a space they have yet to attend. Interact with poets you don’t know. Get the energy flowing. The sooner the poetry community in DC stops thinking of itself as a literary backwater, the sooner it will no longer be true. There’s an incredible array of extremely talented poets and spoken word artists living here right now. Isn’t it time that we rip a line from Walt Whitman and celebrate ourselves a little? It certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the blur of AWP

As Katy mentioned, I did in fact attend the 3 day AWP event that was held this year in Washington, D.C. which just happens to be our current "hometown". I was reluctant to attend, I have to say, but was talked into it by Kim Roberts and the gang at Poetry Mutual/Vrzhu Press. It turned out well.

I got to catch up with Daniel Nester, Tom Deveaney, Heather Thomas, and others I knew from past incarnations of myself as well as to meet Allan Kornblum, founder of Toothpaste Press & Coffee House Press and Hugh Behm-Steinberg and many others who made their way to our humble little table. It was great to discover and meet the owners of Idiots' Books.

I didn't attend all that many lectures/discussions as I was mostly chained to our table - but I did make my way around the bookfair and was mostly quite impressed. Were you there? Would love to know how you found it.


Till soon

stevenallenmay

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

2011 Poetry Chapbook Contest

Our 2011 Chapbook Poetry Contest is still accepting submissions. This is our eighth consecutive year for the contest. We're excited to see the manuscripts that come our way.

The judge this year is Corey Mesler, a former Plan B Press contest winner himself, but for short fiction. We once did short fiction contests. His chapbook with us, Following Richard Brautigan, was turned into a full length book published by a different press.

The winner receives $230 and 50 copies of their chapbook. All details of the contest can be found here.

It's only $15 to try! AND we often provide readers' comments on your work - always constructive, never nasty. So, give it a go.

Good luck!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Wolfgang Books Closing

We were saddened to hear that Wolfgang Books in Phoenixville, PA was going to close. It was a really neat bookstore that had an amazing selection of titles. And for Steven, at least, it had a mouthwatering selection of Beat books. We had a number of great readings there and the owners, Jason and Paul, were really supportive of our press, carrying more of our titles than any other bookstore. Wolfgang will be greatly missed. If you have never been there, we urge you to check it out before the doors close for good.

image of the store from their website:

Spring 2011 Season and AWP

Busy Busy Busy so far in 2011.

We are working on releasing the first three titles of the season. In no particular order we have:
1) Paulette Beete : Voice Lessons
2) erica lewis : in this separate existence
3) Lek Borja : Android

Also coming up is our 2011 poetry chapbook contest winner. The contest is still open, so please go to out contest page and check it out. We hope to have updates on the progress of all of these books as we go along, but only one of them is at the printer so far.



We just came back from three days spent at the AWP (The Association of Writers & Writing Program) Conference in Washington, DC. It was a whirlwind, but we got to meet heaps of amazing people and were introduced to some really neat presses. We also saw some of our authors there! We made miniature chapbooks with press information that were gobbled up pretty fast. At our next book fair I'm sure we'll be making little books like that again, but we'll include more imagery. We also had bookmarks and postcards available. Steve will write a blog posing on the highlights in a bit, but in the meantime, here are photos of our table.