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, March 04, 2011

memory flashbacks while working on a new project.., 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!

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