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Alta. Courtesy She's Beautiful When She's Angry.

Alta Gerrey (born 1942)[1] is an American poet, prose writer, and publisher,[2] best known as the founder of Shameless Hussy Press and editor of the Shameless Hussy Review.[3]


Personal life[]

Alta was born in Reno, Nevada.[1] She started the Shameless Hussy Press with her 2nd husband. She wrote a volume of "blatant lesbian poems", Letters to Women (1969).[4] After the press closed she started operating an art gallery in Berkeley, California.[5]

Poetry and prose[]

Her 1st volume of feminist poetry, Freedom's in Sight, was published in 1969,[6] and some of her poems were anthologized in such collections as From Feminism to Liberation (Philip G. Altbach and Edith S. Hoshino, eds, 1971).[7]

Shameless Hussy Press[]

Alta started Shameless Hussy Press in 1969.[8] The 1st women-owned feminist press in California, it opened during the time of 2nd-wave feminism. Alta used a printing press in her garage to publish books by authors such as Susan Griffin, Pat Parker, and Mitsuye Yamada.[4] Yamada later described Alta as an "energetic feminist poet" who promoted Yamada's debut volume of poetry "at women’s conferences, women’s health centers, and lesbian bars."[9] The press published the original edition of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, and Mary Mackey's premiere novel, Immersion (1972). They also published poetry by men: "Alta reasoned that since 6 percent of the books published in the U.S. were by women, 6 percent of the books she published should be by men."[4]

The press closed in 1989; its archive is held at University of California Santa Cruz.[10]


Her 1980 collected works, The Shameless Hussy (Crossing Press), won the American Book Award in 1981.[4][11]



  • Freedom's in Sight: Poems and collages. Berkeley, Ca: Aldebaran Review, 1969.
  • Burn This and Memorize Yourself: Poems for women. New York: Times Change Press, 1971.
  • No Visible Means of Support. San Lorenzo, CA: Shameless Hussy Press, 1971.
  • Through. San Francisco: Panjandrum Press, 1972.
  • The Vow (for Anne Hutchinson). San Leandro, Shameless Hussy Press, 1974.
  • I Am Not a Practicing Angel: Poems. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1975.
  • Theme and Variations: Longpoem. San Lorenzo, CA: Shameless Hussy Press, 1975.
  • Deluged with Dudes: Platonic and erotic love poems to men. Berkeley, CA: Shameless Hussy Press, 1989.

Short fiction[]

  • True Story: Prose. Oakland, CA: Mamma's Press, 1973.
  • Momma: A start on all the untold stories. New York: Times Change Press, 1974.
  • Pauline and the Mysterious Pervert. Warwick, NY: Wyrd Press, 1975.


  • Letters to Women. Berkeley, CA: Shameless Hussy Press, 1976.
  • Travelling Tales: Flings I've flung in foreign parts. Berkeley, CA: Acapella Communications, 1990.

Collected editions[]

  • Poems and Prose. Pittsburgh, PA: Know Inc., [1975?]
  • The Shameless Hussy: Selected stories, essays, and poems. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press,1980.


  • Remember Our Fire: Poetry by women. Berkeley: Noh Directions Press, 1969.
  • If we Know Where the Poems Come from why Don't We Just Go There: A collection of poems from "Women Making Poetry". San Lorenzo, CA: Shameless Hussy Press, 1975.

Faces of the Recession Alta Gerrey

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[12]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Blain, Virginia; Clements, Patricia; Grundy, Isobel (1990). The feminist companion to literature in English: women writers from the Middle Ages to the present. Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-5848-0. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  2. Cathy N. Davidson, Linda Wagner-Martin, Elizabeth Ammons, ed (1995). The Oxford companion to women's writing in the United States. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-506608-1. 
  3. Moore, Honor (March/April 2009). "After 'Ariel': Celebrating the poetry of the women's movement". Boston Review. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Love, Barbara J. (2006). Feminists who changed America, 1963-1975. U of Illinois P. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-252-03189-2. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  5. "Berkeley gallery owner tries to grasp the art of staying solvent". Synchronized Chaos. Jaylan. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  6. Heinemann, Sue (1996-03-01). Timelines of American women's history. Penguin. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-399-51986-4. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  7. Yates, Gayle Graham (1975-12-12). What Women Want: The Ideas of the Movement. Harvard UP. pp. ix, 115–16. ISBN 978-0-674-95079-5. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  8. "Alta and the History of Shameless Hussy Press, 1969-1989". University of California, Santa Cruz. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  9. Yamada, Mitsuye (2007). "Living in a Transformed Desert". In Jennifer Sinor. Placing the academy: essays on landscape, work, and identity. Rona Kaufman. Utah State UP. pp. 125–38. ISBN 978-0-87421-657-8. 
  10. "Guide to the Shameless Hussy Press records, 1968-1989". University of California, Santa Cruz. 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  11. "ABA: The American Book Awards". Before Columbus Foundation. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  12. Search results = au:Alta, WorldCAt, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Apr. 18, 2014.

External links[]

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