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.

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


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.