“I started the first feminist press in this wave of feminism in America. At that time, 94% of the books printed in the US were written by men. I called the press Shameless Hussy because my mother used that term for women she didn’t approve of, and no one approved of what I was doing.”
Alta is a Californian poet, publisher, musician and gallerist. She founded Shameless Hussy Press, the first feminist press in America, 1969 – 1989. She published first books by Susan Griffin, Ntozake Shange (For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf), Mitsuye Yamada, and Mary Mackey. Alta's book Letters to Women was the first book of overt lesbian love poems in America. The archives for Shameless Hussy Press are online at the University of California at Santa Cruz: UCSC Special Collections Library. Alta's collected work The Shameless Hussy, published by Crossing Press, won the Before Columbus American Book award in 1981. When multiple sclerosis limited her activities, she retired the press.
In 2006 she opened Alta Galleria in Berkeley, exhibiting California art. www.AltaGalleria.com The gallery has shown at the Beijing International Art Fair in China. Her blog, Living Well With a Dread Disease is available online at lwwadd.blogspot.com. The original content dealt with multiple sclerosis; it is being expanded as she experiences healing from breast cancer. Her most recent book is Another Moment: Living Well with a Dread Disease: Everything That Grows Can Also Shrink published by Tough Old Lady Publications.