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Pamela Gemin, Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Are You Experienced?

edited by Pamela Gemin

Are You Experienced by Pamela GeminIn this timely and reflective anthology, the generation that sought to stay forever young reveals that midlife should mean more than jokes about thinning hair, creaking joints, and thickening waistlines. Midlife's insights—whether they be physical, spiritual, or emotional—are indeed startling, and who better than poets to deliver them?

The nearly one hundred poets, both men and women, emerging and established, in this anthology move beyond the standard complaints of middle age to more resounding themes that define an entire generation: social, political, and environmental concerns, domestic partnerships and blended families, crises and affirmations of faith.

Some poets, like Ann Hostetler in “Priestess of Love,” revisit their youthful desires, while others, such as Jim Daniels in “Blessing the House,” summon memories of old houses and neighborhoods. The Great Boomer Sellout is acknowledged in poems like Martín Espada's ironic take on an upscale restaurant and Marcia Southwick's melancholy assessment of the news. And poets like Lisa Lewis, Holly Iglesias, and Tony Hoagland appraise the next generation with ironic humor. 

Each poet seeks an answer to the ambiguous, electric, and open-ended question that has haunted the Baby Boom generation: Are you experienced? And each poet answers emphatically: Yes, Yes, Yes.


“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

Paperback: 312 pages, Publisher: University of Iowa Press; (May 2003) ISBN: 0877458502

Vendettas, Charms and Prayers

by Pamela Gemin, Department of English

Vendettas, Charms and Prayers by Pamela GeminThis collection of poems is sharp and witty and filled with pop culture imagery from a Midwestern childhood spent "Not from the wrong side of,/ but right on the tracks." ("The 3:15")

"I enjoyed the flair, bawdiness, sensuousness, and plain sense of Vendettas, Charms, and Prayers. There is plenty of trouble in these pages, but it's a 'large life.'" -Alicia Ostriker, author of The Crack in Everything

"With colloquial verve and a distinct and often hilarious voice, PamelaGemin builds poems of novelistic detail and stunning emotional depth. Gemin is a genius of memory." -David Graham, author of Second Wind

"One hears in [Gemin's poetry) the irrepressible reverberations of rock and roll. These poems make no apologies for their raucous femaleness, their unabashed courage to say, 'Here I am."' -Victoria Redel, author of Where the Road Bottoms Out

6 x 9, 88 pages o Paperback, 0-89823-195-7 o $13.95 Minnesota Voices Project #91
New Rivers Press

Boomer Girls

edited by Pamela Gemin and Paula Sergi

Boomer Girls by Pamela GeminWhere 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.


“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.”

University of Iowa Press Books, Boomer Girls: Poems by Women from the Baby Boom Generation, by Pamela Gemin, ed., Paula Sergi, ed. * Order * 242 pp, 1999 $44.95 hardcover 0-87745-698-4 $15.95 paper 0-87745-687-9

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