Boomer Girls

Boomer Girls

Poems by Women from the Baby Boom Generation


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1999
242 pages
Paper: 
$24.00
0877456879
9780877456872
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“Here they come, the biggest, loudest voices in the millennial USA, and there is no avoiding their oomph and bravado—who would want to? Boomer girls rock and rule in this eclectic collection of the female vernacular. No tiny feet here (lots of stamping though)—listen up!”—Maureen Seaton, author of Furious Cooking

“Reading through Boomer Girls, cover to cover, was like drowning and seeing my life flash before my eyes—from my mother's frilly aprons to hula hoops to brush rollers to sex, drugs, Janis Joplin, and the draft lottery. This impressive and enjoyable collection of poems sets off so many little explosions of buried memories and eerie sensations of deja vu—it's like reading your old diaries—only better. Yet the collection also offers a rich array of poems by minority women whose experiences as captured in their poems gave me a more complete insight into the times during which I came of age.”—Marly Swick, author of Evening News

“In Pamela Gemin and Paula Sergi's anthology, we delight in hearing a chorus of poets' voices—voices that capture the surprises, struggles, frustrations and plain fun of coming of age as a baby boomer. Together, these women view their experiences from every angle, every avenue, their diverse backgrounds and perspectives creating a rich and lasting dialogue. Any Woman reading this book—no matter the generation—will find herself validated.”—Mary Swander, author of Driving the Body Back and Out of this World

“A can't-miss, something-for-everyone anthology.”—Foreword

“This rich anthology tracks boomer girls from birth to, well, knowingness…Their poems are about loss, loneliness, violence, and love. The writers in Boomer Girls touch themes that all generations experience but this generation can express for all of us—in ways that quietly-bred Emily Dickinson, say, never could—what it is to be a girl baby, then adolescent, then woman growing up in America.”—Susan Stamberg, NPR's “All Things Considered.”

Boomer girls succeeds … by being accessible and consistent. Its uniform , reflective stance shapes a lively, highly readable story of a time and a generation that defies succinct definition. It has the power to appeal to both readers of poetry and those who rarely pick up a book of poems.”—Frances Phillips, Ruminator Review

Where were you between Betty Crocker and Gloria Steinem? With that question in mind poets Pamela Gemin and Paula Sergi began collecting the poems in Boomer Girls, an anthology of coming-of-age poems written by women born between 1945 and 1964, give or take a few years on either side. The answers to that question fill this volume with the energy, passion, heartbreak, and giddiness of women's lives from childhood to adolescence to middle age.

The poems in Boomer Girls are by unknown, emerging, and established writers, women who participated in the second wave of feminism. From Sandra Cisneros' "My Wicked Wicked Ways" to Barbara Crooker's "Nearing Menopause, I Run into Elvis at Shoprite," from Wendy Mnookin's "Polio Summer" to Kyoko Mori's "Barbie Says Math Is Hard," these poems call for us to celebrate (in the words of poet Diane Seuss-Brakeman) "glances, romances, beauty and guilt, regret, remorse, rebates and rejuvenations."

Boomer Girls share a common culture, bound by their generation's political history, by pop icons like Barbie—that pedestaled Boomer Girl who's just turned forty—and by the music that's never stopped playing: Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, the Ronettes, Van Morrison, Patsy Cline, John Lennon. The Boomer poets in this feisty anthology speak with diverse voices and embody a wide range of experiences, yet their generation's universal images—the hula hoops, TV shows, finned automobiles, and other household gods of their youth—unite them in ways both hilarious and tender.

Table of contents: 

1. The Small Knowledge of Our Bodies

Sandra Cisneros, My Wicked Wicked Ways
Diane Seuss-Brakeman, What Is There
Jan Beatty, If This is Sex, It Must Be Tuesday
Paula Goldman, Atlantic City Snapshot
Wendy Mnookin, Naming
Heidi Erdrich, True Myth
Jill Bialosky, from Fathers in the Snow
Susan Firer, An Autobiography of an Angel
Geraldine Connolly, Movie Queens
Donna Masini, My Mother Makes Me a Geisha Girl
Wendy Mnookin, Polio Summer
Cathy Song, The Grammar of Silk
Dorianne Laux, Small Gods
Angela Jackson, Blue Milk
Jeanne Bryner, Our Fathers
Diane Jarvenpa, The Other Language
Lynn Emanuel, The Planet Krypton
Paula Sergi, Four on a Fold
Leslie Adrienne Miller, Sleeping Out
Elizabeth Alexander, Summertime
Josie Kearns, Satellite Father
Judith Montgomery, Taking the Fences
Ann Townsend, Institutional Blue
Natash Trethewey, White Lies
Kelly Norman Ellis, Girl

2. The Age of Unlimited Possibilities

Harriet Levin, The Christmas Show
Donna Hilbert, Craving
Kyoko Mori, Barbie Says Math Is Hard
Allison Joseph, Traitor
Marilyn Chin, First Lessons
Julia Kasdorf, Catholics
Jackie Bartley, Hershey's
Lonnie Hull DuPont, Looking for God
Angela Jackson, Faith
Liz Abrams-Morley, In Levittown, Before Her Mother's Vanity
Kate Gleason, The Age of Unlimited Possibilities
Natasha Trethewey, Collection Day
Julia Alvarez, Queens, 1963
Jennifer Lagier, 1958 Fruit Cutting Shed
Judy Belsky, Hula Hoop Summer
Jeanne Bryner, Sunday Morning
Elizabeth Alexander, Apollo
Dorianne Laux, Twelve
Kate Sontag, When Memory is a Gardenia in Your Stepmother's Hair
Judith Hougen, Coming of Age
Heidi Erdrich, Creation

3. The Long Dark Dialogue

Holly Iglesias, Apron
Donna Masini, Getting Out of Where We Came From
Joy Harjo, Crystal Lake
Rebecca McClanahan, Passion Week, 1966
Alison Townsend, Supplies
Julia Kasdorf, First TV in a Mennonite Family
Dorothy Barresi, Vacation, 1969
Kathryn Daniels, Big Sister Says, 1967
Susan Firer, Basememt Slow Dancing
Julie King, To Mary at Thirteen
Laura Stearns, Barn Swallows
Donna Hilbert, The Pursuit of Knowledge
Julia Alvarez, The Word Made Flesh
Kathryn Dunn, I wish I could tell you
Rita Dove, Adolescence - I
Rita Dove, Adolescence - II
Rita Dove, Adolescence - III
Leslie Adrienne Miller, Warts
Harriet Levin, Bird of Paradise
Marie Howe, The Boy
Michele Spring-Moore, Adolescent Rag: Greece, New York, 1981
Jan Beatty, Mad River
Laura Kasischke, Fatima
Geraldine Connolly, An Afternoon in the World
Alison Townsend, Smoke
Jill Bialosky, Stairway to Heaven

4. The Music of the Rest of Our Lives

Silvia Curbelo, Janis Joplin
Judith Hougen, Points of No Return
Kim Addonizio, Them
Leslie Adrienne Miller, Lawn Ornaments
Pamela Gemin, Senior Picture, 1971
Alison Stone, Rocket to Russia
Rita Randazzo, The Sixties
Cathy Song, Sunworshippers
Kathryn Dunn, The first time I almost made love
Allison Joseph, The First Time
Denise Duhamel, Ragweed
Cathleen Calbert, My Mother Taught Me How to Be Poor
Lori Horvitz, Father's Advice
Kelly Sievers, Rochester, Minnesota, 1965
Kim Addonizio, The Philosopher's Club
Pamela Gemin, When Van Morrison Sang
Marianne Boruch, The Vietnam Birthday Lottery, 1970
Dorianne Laux, Fast Gas
Kate Gleason, In Winter Something inside Me Returns as to a Dark God
Rebecca McClanahan, Bridal Rites
Rachel Loden, Marrying the Stranger
Maureen Seaton, The Contract / 1968
Silvia Curbelo, First Snow
Kyoko Mori, On the Edge of the Field

5. Above the Chains of Flesh and Time

Donna Masini, Claim
Lyn Lifshin, elaine
Julia Kasdorf, After the Second Miscarriage
Cathy Song, Eat
Joy Harjo, Rainy Dawn
Besty Sholl, Sex Ed
Sheila Bender, With Martha at Gig Harbor
Allison Joseph, Screen Test
Anne Richey, Blue Thread
Laura Sterns, Ice Cabbages
Barbara Lau, What I Know, What I Haven't Begun to Know
Millicent Borges, The Last Borges
Denise Duhamel, On Being Born the Same Exact Day of the Same Exact Year as Boy George
Patricia Valdata, New Jersey Turnpike: Exit 14
Maureen Seaton, Mortal Sins
Harriet Jacobs, growing into my name
Laurel Mills, Learning Our Names
Judith Vollmer, from Wildsisters Bar
Denise Duhamel, Feminism
Mary Weems, Return to Temptation
Kathy Mangan, St. Paul Street Seasonal
Paula Sergi, Sound Flying into and out of My Ears
Elizabeth Alexander, Affirmative Action Blues (1993)
Joyce Sutphen, Crossroads
Carol Dorf, Sara's Daughters
Jeanne Bryner, Butterfly
Judith Hougen, Fitness Club, Riding the Lifecycle
Cynthia Gallaher, Trying on Marilyn Monroe's Shoes
Barbara Crooker, Nearing Menopause, I Run into Elvis at Shoprite
Kate Sontag, Self-Portrait at Eighty with Twelve-String
Diane Seuss-Brakeman, Let Go

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