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No Visible Means of Support.


Inscribed to Gwendolyn Brooks
Alta. No Visible Means of Support. California: Shameless Hussy Press, 1971.
8vo.; printed in several colors; wrappers; stapled; staple rust stains on lower panel.
First edition of this collection of poetry. A presentation copy, inscribed inside the upper cover: for Gwendolyn Brooks, 'we are each other's business,' Alta. Gwendolyn Brooks, the prolific African-American poet from Chicago, was appointed Poet Laureate for the state of Illinois in 1968.
Alta (b. 1942), a prolific feminist poet, is best known for founding, in 1969, the first women's press in the United States: The Shameless Hussy Press. Alta was motivated by the demand for literature capturing the female experience, the ease and affordability of printing technology, and her own amateur knowledge of letterpress printing,
In the late 1960s, a recent divorcĂ©e and single mother, Alta moved to Oakland, California.  With little else except moxie, determination, and a circle of supportive friends - who also happened to be unrecognized feminist writers, including the black lesbian Pat Parker- she began printing her poetry and that of her friends on her offset press in her home.  For practical reasons, she would personally deliver the books to bookstores in her area on foot - she didn't have a car and she couldn't afford to pay for someone to make the deliveries for her.  After receiving threats to the Press and to her life, she moved to the suburbs. Living frugally and not spending much money on supplies for the press save for paper, she was able to continue her work. While it remained a cottage industry for most of its twenty-year existence, The Shameless Hussy Press's reputation exceeded its output.  It was conceived at the most opportune time in the history of American feminist literature, and helped to facilitate the inception of other women's presses as well as encourage burgeoning feminist writers.

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