Volume 11:3, Summer 2010
PLAN B PRESS ISSUE
Guest Editor: stevenallenmay
In 2010, Beltway Poetry Quarterly
teamed up with Plan B Press to celebrate our tenth anniversary. In this
issue, we celebrate the history of Plan B.
Introduction by stevenallenmay
As with most publishing endeavors, Plan
B Press began as an idea. Rather, as an extension of an idea. In late
June 1998, I suffered a terrible accident on a mountain bike resulting
in five broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a near death experience.
Six weeks later, I participated in a poetry reading in the local library
and afterwards, amidst the pizza and conversation, I uttered the words
that would change my life: “Why don’t we have a poetry reading
every day of the month of April, National Poetry Month?” The comment
became an idea, which led to the creation of Bardfest in Berks County,
PA and the formation of the Berks Bards, the supporting poetry non-profit
which runs the festival.
In addition to these massive undertakings, I had it in my head that
a publishing wing of the festival would be ideal to showcase the work
being read or presented during the month-long festival. I discussed
this idea with my collaborator at the time, Dianne
Miller, who had taken a previous chance comment of mine
and turned it into a poetry zine called Two Thought Minimum.
She had already become an editor and publisher by bringing out TTM
for two years prior to this new momentous idea. After some back and
forth, we agreed to call our endeavor Plan B Press.
From its inception, Dianne Miller was the lead partner while I continued
to organize and host readings, and was the point man for Bardfest99.
Dianne headed the Press from 1999 till the Summer of 2003, having overseen
the production of two Bardfest anthologies, a few other titles, and
her own I’m Not Finished Yet…, the first book published
by Plan B Press.
Things shifted from Leola, PA (where the Press was born) to Philadelphia
when I moved to the city in December 2001. Once I gained a foothold
there as the Poetry & Special Event Coordinator at Robins Bookstore,
a Philadelphia landmark, the focus of the Press also began to change
from publishing poets in Central PA and those who were part of Bardfest
to publishing Philadelphia poets. This shift was made permanent with
the publication of Plastic Sunrise. Not only did it mark the
beginning of the new collaboration between myself and Katy Jean
(Druzba) May; it led in short order to working with Philly-based
poet Lamont Steptoe.
By late summer 2003, Dianne asked Katy and I to take over the daily
operation of the Press, to which we quickly agreed. It wasn’t
until Katy and I worked together on publishing Plastic Sunrise
that we became confident enough to run the Press. We were able to publish
two Philly poets, Michele Belluomini
and Jim Mancinelli, just
before leaping south to the Washington DC area in June 2004 so that
I could become part of the first class of the new Arts Management program
at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
From the Fall of 2004 till the end of 2009 we have published nearly
two-thirds of our titles, a terribly creative outburst considering I
was in grad school while Katy took a job working for the federal government.
In the process, Katy pointed out that 85% of the poets we were publishing
were at the beginning of their “publishing careers,” meaning
it was their first, second, or third books. We had realized our niche.
We had also become an “International Press” by publishing
Anne Blonstein (of Switzerland)
and Mark Terrill (of Germany). While it’s true
that we still identify ourselves with Philadelphia, and we have published
almost a dozen Philly poets, we have also published poets from across
It has been our good fortune to have crossed paths with a number of
important poets along the way whose influence has altered or impacted
the development of our Press and most recently that person has been
Kim Roberts, with whom
we have presented the marvelous anthology Full
Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC. Not
only does this anthology cement our tiny place in the annuals of DC
literary history, but it once again puts us on a slightly different
path. And so, we press ahead...
Co-Founder and Editor, Plan B Press
stevenallenmay is a
poet, publisher, events curator and host, blogger, performance artist,
book collector, husband, and father (in no particular order of importance).
He currently resides in Northern VA.
To read more by this author:
Table of Contents
I: Founding (1999-2001)
The Gifted, The Gift
Poems from Bardfest '99
Erika Stanley, "Oh My Love"
Jessica White, "The Inconsolable"
Vincent Balistrieri, "Nep Tune Slip"
II: Move to Philadelphia (2001-2004)
from Uncle's South China Sea Blue Nightmare
Nine Ways of Looking at Something Found
Look How Beautiful Her Garden
III: Move to DC (2004-2009)
How It Was
The Age of Ten As Point of View
Finding the Words
IV: Current Releases (2010)
The dead don't get off easy
Prisoner of War
from November 11th
poems from Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC
Tina Darragh,"cliche as place—rainbows"
Gray Jacobik, "Forgetting David Weinstock"
Tony Medina,"Cannibals on U Street"
Ken Rumble,"8. april. 2001"