CYTHIA RAUSCH ALLAR was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1955. Cynthia was one of three girls in an Irish-German Catholic family. She attended Catholic schools through high school but broke from the church at age 18. She married, had two children, and lived in various parts of the South and Midwest. At the age of 47, she was encouraged by a poet at the Indiana Writer’s Conference to apply to a master’s program at Spalding University in her hometown. There, Cynthia met the woman who would later become her wife, the wife her large Catholic family has embraced. Cynthia’s work is most often about her family, friends, and their experiences.
DIANE APRILE was born in 1949 in Louisville, Kentucky, where she lived for 60 years and enjoyed a 30-year career as a journalist, during which she was part of a Courier-Journal team that won a staff Pulitzer Prize. She and her husband co-owned the Jazz Factory, a music venue with an urban vibe. In 2009, they (and their cats, Mr. Leo and the late-great Maya Papaya) moved to Seattle’s East Side. Dianne is the author of four books. Excerpts from her memoir in progress have twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Since 2001, Dianne has had the pleasure of teaching creative nonfiction as faculty for Spalding University’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.
JOAN E. BAUER was born in Long Beach, California, in 1947. She lived there through college, with stops in Berkeley and Washington DC, and has lived in Pittsburgh since 1988. Her poetry demonstrates her interest in history as well as inspiration from other writers; some poems are based on true stories.
SHEILA CARTER-JONES was raised in Indianola, a small coal-mining town in Western Pennsylvania. Indianola was made up of ethnic pockets, each with a distinct nickname. Sheila lived in the place nicknamed Colored Town, adjacent to Peanut Heaven and Russian Town. When the coal mine closed in 1960, the African American men and women went to work for rich white people nearby. Sheila attended school in that affluent area and was offered a full scholarship to Carnegie-Mellon University. She taught at public schools and universities in Pittsburgh for many years. Her featured works are memory-tributes to the men and women in her hometown. Sheila’s poetry manuscript, Three Birds Deep, won the 2012 Naomi Long Madgett Book Award, judged by Elizabeth Alexander.
KIMBERLY GARTS CRUM, born in 1955 in Richmond, Virginia, is the coeditor of The Boom Project. She has often lived near rivers, including the James, Rhine, Thames, Mississippi, and Iowa. In 1986, she and her husband adopted Louisville, a charming city that does not know whether it is midwestern or southern. Kim has her MSW (University of Iowa) and her MFA (Spalding University). She teaches memoir and personal essay writing at her Shape & Flow writing studio, located in a repurposed slaughterhouse, its incoming streets often flooded when the Ohio River tops its banks. She is working on a segmented memoir titled Slouching toward Self-Actualization.
Six-word memoir—Questioned authority before the bumper sticker
DIANE CRUZE has lived in Louisville since her birth in 1955. Her featured piece, “Independence Day,” remembers a childhood experience within a racist culture. The Fourth of July picnic is the first time she recalls being told by her parents that she was forbidden from playing with black children. It was a rule she always resented. As Diane came of age, she rejected the racism that permeated the world around her. Today, 58 years after this memory, Louisville’s Olmstead Park System, along the Ohio River, invites people of all incomes and ethnic groups to concerts, festivals, and fireworks, especially on the Fourth of July. Diane is the director of Louisville’s Women Who Write.
JOAN DUBAY lives in Louisville. Recently, she and her husband visited the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, Max Yasgur’s dairy farm. The museum returned her to a time in her youth, preparing to enter her first year of college. She could never have imagined that the horrific experience of the Kent State massacre would close out her freshman year. This was a defining moment in the life of this boomer. It framed her political involvement and social justice outlook for the rest of her life. While writing her featured piece, “What Are We Fighting For?” Joan contacted Country Joe, receiving permission to feature the lyric from his iconic Vietnam protest song.
NANCY GENEVIEVE née STEINHAUER was born in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1947. Her family’s history intertwines with the town’s—her father and his father were born and buried there; her great-grandfather and his father are also buried there. Nancy originated and directed Murray State University’s first writing center and taught at Trigg County High School where her students researched, wrote, and published six volumes of local history, titled Echoes. She also chaired Kentucky’s first Rails-to-Trails Project in Cadiz. Even though Nancy moved to Illinois in 1990 and to Massachusetts in 2005, her family life, academic life, and writings, notably her NYXpoetry trilogy, embrace her western Kentucky roots in attitude, language, images, and values.
KAREN GEORGE was born in 1952. She has lived in many Northern Kentucky towns, never more than a half hour from the Ohio river. She grew up hearing stories about walking and driving cars on the frozen river. The 1937 flood reached the second floor of her grandfather’s dry cleaners on 12th Street. Much of her life is, and always has been, crossing borders from Kentucky to Ohio and back. The Ohio River is braided tightly into her history. It even enters her dreams.
Five-word memoir—I love to visit cemeteries.
JOSEPH GLYNN was born in Carbondale, Illinois, in 1961. Joseph has a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University, as well as master’s degrees from Illinois State University and Indiana University in Bloomington, and a paralegal certificate from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He now works as a cartographic technician at the National Processing Center of the United States Census Bureau in Jeffersonville, Indiana. In his spare time, Joseph writes. He has his own blog that houses his literary creations and personal interests. As a “tail-end boomer,” Joseph hopes that he and his fellow comrades will one day gain the respect they deserve.
Six-word memoir—I'm Just the Unordinary Ordinary Joe.
KARI GUNTER-SEYMOUR was born in 1955 in Warren, Ohio. She came of age as the true nature of the Vietnam War was becoming known to the American public. Kari’s friend’s mom served in a factory during WWII. Women, especially rural women, did not have the kind of choices we have today concerning careers, birth control, and military service, all of which are taken for granted these days. Little was known about stress and mental illness or how to treat it. Kari was compelled to put down a version of her friend’s mom’s story in a poem, to make sure the “Rosie the Riveters” are not forgotten.
Ten-word memoir—All her true knowing/ tangled in tree root/and bird son
ROGER HART was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1948 and lived in numerous small towns in Ohio for 60 years. He sometimes accompanied his father, who sold soap and floor wax for Rose Chemical, to schools and courthouses in towns along the Ohio side of the river. A retired teacher, Roger relocated with his wife to Iowa although he still remains a Buckeye at heart. His piece is based on an actual event, the collapse of the Silver Bridge in December 1967, a tragedy that is well remembered. As the story suggests, Roger found the love of his life and two very large Newfoundland dogs.
SUZANNE HARTMAN was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1946. A graduate of the University of Louisville and Spalding University, Suzanne has lived most of her 72 years in Louisville. She is a psychologist. Suzanne loves her city in the Ohio River Valley, but also believes that racism still penetrates the South’s soul. She has grown to realize the depth of injustice towards her black brothers and sisters. Her essay grew out of her effort to try to understand racism in the context of her white privilege.
LENNIE HAY was born in 1950 in Minot, North Dakota—an unlikely place for a Chinese- American child to enter the world. She has lived in Louisville, Kentucky, since 1972 and now spends half the year in Indian Shores, Florida. Lenora’s poems are memoir-driven. At 18, she was a young woman with a passion for the presidential campaign. Fifty-years ago, she watched her black-and-white portable television and cried. On a late August evening in 1968, she watched in disbelief as the Chicago police clubbed protestors gathered at the Democratic Party’s National Convention. She remained hopeful that the country could change, the Vietnam War could end, that race relations would improve, and poverty would decrease.
GINNY HORTON credits Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Cream, and Simon and Garfunkel for everything that happened in her life since 1968. She blames the family TV for Kent State, the draft, and Nixon. When her big brother got drafted, Ginny got his record player. In the suburbs of Cincinnati, music spoke to something deep in her. She did not know any protestors or hippies, but felt her world changing as she memorized the lyrics of the generation, her imagination going around with the movement of the turntable. Ginny is a retired advertising creative director. Her work has appeared in Travelers’ Tales: The Best Women’s Travel Writing.
BONNIE OMER JOHNSON, coeditor of The Boom Project, was born in Lansing, Michigan, in 1948, but moved to Kentucky before her first birthday. She claims to have river water running through her veins, having lived more years than not on the Ohio River, but also in cities along the Missouri, the James, and the St. Johns Rivers. Since receiving her MFA at Spalding University in her mid-50s, she has taught at Keiser University, Owensboro (Kentucky) Community and Technical College, and Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. A lifelong curiosity propels her into old age, where she loves and laughs, reads and writes with ever more delight as she looks forward to overtime in the game of life. “Hair Peace” is memoir that recalls a single vanity and practices of mid-20th century haircare.
Six-word memoir—It didn't turn out as planned.
LAURA JOHNSRUDE was born in 1961, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She spent four years during her pediatric residency in Cincinnati. Her family has lived in Prospect, Kentucky, for the last 17 years. Laura is sure she lives in the Ohio River Valley since she and her son walk over the river on the Big Four Bridge whenever he is home. And she can hear the foghorns from her own backyard. Laura has published in Hippocampus, The Spectacle, and Bellevue Literary Review. In her anthology piece, Laura explores her childhood and its religious complexities.
Six-word memoir—Reads, Rests, Writes. Reads, Roars, Writes.
DON KRIEGER lives and works in Pittsburgh, as a researcher, where he earns his living trying to understand and treat head injuries. In his creative writing, he tries to express ideas with unambiguous clarity and intensity. His poetry has appeared online in Tuck andUppagus magazines, and in print in Hanging Loose, Neurology, and Persian Sugar in English Tea (volumes 1 and 3) in both English and Farsi.
JOHN LIMEBERRY was born in 1962 in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent most of his childhood years in southern Indiana. He spent much of the turbulent ’60s in a cocoon of safety and innocence. He suspects that many of the younger boomer generation can relate to this experience, which is reflected in his piece. Through the use of notable markers such as television, church, and family, John attempts to articulate what it was like to be an actual child of the ’60s.
SHERYL LOEFFLER was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1949. Her mother’s family came from Ironton, Ohio, where Ohio meets Kentucky and West Virginia. Although Sheryl has never had a permanent home in Ironton, she and her family spent virtually every holiday there. She is now a Canadian writer and musician. Her poetry has been published in literary magazines in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, and Japan. In April 2005, she moved to Malta, at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. In May 2014, A Land in the Storytelling Sea, her book of poems, prose poems, and photographs, born in Malta, was published by FARAXA Publishing, Rabat, Malta. In 2015, she was elected to membership in the League of Canadian Poets.
Six-word memoir—My book--A Land in the Storytelling Sea
YVONNE LOVELL immigrated to the United States from Jamaica at the age of 21. She is an immigrant from a long line of immigrants and likes to refer to herself as a citizen of the world. Her sisters are citizens of Canada, her cousins are British, and the rest of her family has adopted the United States of America. In this moment in the United States, Yvonne believes immigrants are struggling to understand. What did they do to insult our host? How did they cross that line between welcome and unwelcome? Yvonne explores her memories and grapples with these complicated questions she believes she and her fellow immigrants must ask themselves.
COLLEN McCORMICK is the editorial assistant for The Boom Project. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is a recent graduate of the University of Louisville. Her featured work, “A Woman’s World,” salutes all women, past, present, and future, who defy stereotypes. Colleen is the daughter of a baby boomer, a representative of the millennial generation, whose assistance enabled The Boom Project to select stories and poems with universal appeal. She hopes this is one of many meaningful literary contributions.
WENDY MCVICKER was born in eastern Pennsylvania, during a snowstorm in January 1951. She grew up in the anodyne suburbs of Philadelphia, all smooth surfaces and roiling underneath. Since 1985, she has been a resident of Athens, Ohio, pursuing the life of a rogue and teaching poet, while raising two sons and practicing karate. Wendy’s poems reflect growing up female in that suburban world of the 1950s, trying desperately to figure out who she was in a world that sought tirelessly to wear her down.
Six-word memoir—Ice-born/thawed//grew wings/flew
ROBERT MILTNER was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1949. Robert attended the College of Steubenville and Xavier University of Cincinnati for his undergraduate education. These years were important to his transition from childhood and adolescence, shaping his emerging identity and personal and cultural growth. Robert believes he can truly identify with Langston Hughes when he said, “I’ve known rivers,” and as such, his understanding of his life and times, “has grown deep like the rivers.” Even more, Robert knows this revelation is also reflected in his writing about his generation and the Ohio River Valley.
MARY LOU NORTHERN was born in 1947 in Louisville. Though she has lived elsewhere, she always returned home. One of eight children, among them an artist, a potter, a poet, and a musician, she received her MFA from Spalding University. Her work has appeared in Redbook, Orion, and elsewhere. Three of her plays have been produced. When she was a girl, her father taught her to skip stones across water at the 4th Street Wharf of the Ohio River. It was the first time she saw a rat and a steamboat. Her father lived in her childhood home until he was 89 years old. One February day, he went out in the snow, he believed, to help the sheriff secure a prisoner. A gas and electric man brought him home. Her father’s dignity and love inspired Simon and Eleanor’s story in her featured piece.
KENNETH PARSONS was born in 1953 in Ashland, Kentucky. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, Marshall University, and the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign. Kenneth has taught English in colleges and universities in the United States, China, Japan, and South Korea, where his poems have also appeared. His poetry chapbook, Window Shadow Mirror, was published by Pudding House press. His novel Our Mad Brother Villon, was published by Little Feather Books (2015). Kenneth now lives in Goyang City, South Korea, and he recently retired from teaching English as a foreign language at SeoKyeong University in Seoul.
SELENE G. PHILLIPS (Wabigonikewikwe) is a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe nation. She was born on February 8, 1959, in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, in a hospital just off her reservation. It was five days after “the day the music died” when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a plane crash during a tour that began in Milwaukee. Her job as an assistant professor in the department of communication brought her to the Ohio River and the University of Louisville, where she teaches and researches writing and Native American studies. She lives in Floyds Knobs, Indiana.
LAURA POWER was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She studied civil engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. That’s where Laura met her college-days boyfriend, and, more importantly, learned to drive his damask-red MG Midget. Mastering a stick shift seemed a more formidable skill then than all the nerdy measuring, calculating, and analyzing required at school. A few years later, Laura began a brief, but beautiful, relationship with her own MG Midget. Following a career as a corporate drone, Laura now writes as a hobby and sometimes as a freelancer.
MICHAEL "MICK" PUCKETT was born in 1951 in Louisville, Kentucky. He spent his youth in the woods and along streams and rivers. In his work life, Mick recorded albums for local musicians in his studio, Real to Reel Recording, as well as on-location music festivals for NPR. He worked with artists John Hartford, Jean Ritchie, John Jacob Niles, and Lily May Ledford. Later on, he taught middle school science and biology at Indiana University Southeast. In his retirement, Mick is a volunteer for Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, where he treats owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, and vultures and releases them back into the wild. His piece, featured here, is a memory of Vietnam War protests just after the Kent State massacre.
TOM RAITHEL was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1951. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and worked as a journalist for several newspapers in the Midwest, including 20 years with the Evansville (Indiana) Courier and Press. He currently resides in Evansville. He believes his poems show a respect for the natural environment of the Ohio River Valley as well as the industrial-urban and rural environment that often encroaches upon it.
Five-word memoir—Former news reporter turns poet
LINDA NEIL REISING was born in Miami, Oklahoma, in 1955, but has been a resident of Poseyville, Indiana since 1980. When her daughter was in high school, she became obsessed with James Dean. Every time Linda opened the door to her daughter’s room, she was face to face with a life-sized cutout of the “Rebel.” When Linda attended the Indiana Writing Project at Ball State University, she was given the assignment to write a what-if story. Immediately, she thought of James Dean. What if he didn’t really die in a car accident? What would he do? Where would he go? Poseyville seemed liked the perfect place for him to hide.
CHARLOTTE BOWLING ROTH, whose roots run deep into the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, raised a family in and has enjoyed her Louisville, Kentucky, home since she was a young mother. But occasionally her eyes turn toward home, the small town of Pineville, Kentucky, where the first-grader who sits at the desk behind you is the same young man who stands beside you in the line at graduation. These memories are the basis for her featured piece which wonders, “Can You Go Home Again?”
MIKE SCHNEIDER was born in 1946 in central Pennsylvania and has lived in Pittsburgh since the mid-1970s. His father and maternal grandfather served in the European theater during WWII, a family experience that he feels has helped shape his life. He began writing poetry in the early 1970s, when he published an antiwar underground newspaper at an air force base in Ohio. Since then he’s been a lawyer, grad student in literature, freelance writer, and science writer for 25 years at Carnegie Mellon University. Now jubilado (Spanish for “retired”), he’s published poems in many journals, along with two chapbooks, most recently How Many Faces Do You Have?, which won the 2017 Robert Phillips Prize from Texas Review Press.
E.G. SILVERMAN was born in 1953 in Pittsburgh and lived there until he departed for college in 1971. One of his first jobs was working at Bageland on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill during summer after his junior year of high school. “Bagel Macher,” which first appeared in Pangolin Papers, is loosely based on that experience, although the characters and events are fictional. Silverman’s fiction has appeared in many literary journals, and he’s been a finalist for several awards for his short story collections and novels.
MARGO TAFT STEVER was born in 1950, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived until she attended Harvard to study poetry and visual studies. When she left Cincinnati, Margo thought that she might never return. Now, she visits as often as possible to revel in the study of the city’s history. Margo has an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She founded the Hudson Valley Writers Center and is the founding editor of Slapering Hol Press in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Many of her poems reflect her Ohio roots and her childhood memories. In 2019, her second full-length poetry collection, Cracked Piano, will be published by CavanKerry Press and her fourth chapbook, Ghost Moose, will be published by Kattywompus Press.
DANA STEWART was born in 1962, in Louisville, Kentucky. By the time she was six, she was critically ill, diagnosed with a rare lifelong condition, dermatomyositis, which left her using a wheelchair by the time she turned 13. Dana spent much of her time in the hospital reading. From there, her love of writing grew. Dana’s featured work was inspired by her mother and grandmother, two avid readers who kept Dana occupied and never dwelt on what she was missing.
IRENE SULYEVICH was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1957, and immigrated to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1990. Writing has been her passion since she was 10 years old. However, the rigorous censorship of the Soviet era made publication unrealistic. These days, her writing is an escape from a job as an IT systems analyst. She writes personal essays and short stories inspired by her multicultural experience. Her memoir piece in the anthology reflects her early experience, being parted from her beloved Black Sea.
CHRISTINE TELFER was born in Pittsburgh in 1964, nine months after the Kennedy assassination—the event, which kicks off her poem. Growing up in the aftermath of that event, as a “late boomer,” left her with a sense that there had been a time when the dream of a better peaceful world was alive in hearts and minds. Her poem, inspired by a comment made in a poetry workshop,after a poem about 9/11 was presented, reflects her search for an event that similarly shocked her generation. Christine servedas a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria (1991-1993), and has since been making a living by teaching ESL to immigrants.
COLETTE TENNANT was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She spent much of her growing-up years in her mother’s hometown, Fly, Ohio, right across the Ohio River from Sistersville, West Virginia. She grew to love the dear, hardworking people there. Even more, Colette knows it will always be an important part of who she is now.
LESLIE SMITH TOWNSEND is a marriage and family therapist who spends much of her free time writing. She believes that as a baby boomer female, it is easy to lose oneself amid the various roles of wife, mother, grandmother, employee, volunteer, etc. Writing is the way she calls herself back to her true self and sorts what really matters from what should be let go.
JUDITH TURNER-YAMAMOTO lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. She searches for the profound and unexpected in the everyday and explores the constellation of emotion in the dynamics within family and community. Years ago, while living in Washington, DC, she drove by an underpass in Georgetown and saw a black man asleep on his back on a heating grate, a blonde Barbie doll clad in a red party dress clenched to his chest. For those few moments, the world fell away. When the traffic light changed, she knew she’d seen something singular that would find its way into her storytelling. And it has. Judith gave this experience to her protagonist, Marjorie, in the featured piece “Offering.”
REED VENRICK was born in 1949 and received his PhD at Indiana University of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. He usually sets his poems in a natural place or an international context, having lived in five countries during his career as a linguistics and grammar teacher before retiring to a family farm in Florida.
YVONNE VISSING, born in 1953, grew up in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Her stay-at-home mother hailed from a farm family and her father was a car businessman who became mayor. Her dad thought she should become a secretary, but her mom pushed to let her attend Indiana University Bloomington. Working on the Belle of Louisville became a way for Yvonne to help pay for college, and it afforded her a unique opportunity. She grew up on the river. A picture of the Belle hangs on her bedroom wall, and memories of the days of working on the river inspire her still.
Six-word memoir—River-rats ever-changing, always-transforming journey
NANCY WICK was born in 1947 in Butler, Pennsylvania, a conservative place and time where it was uncommon for women to work outside the home. Girls had to wear dresses to school and were required to take cooking, sewing, and home management in junior high. She arrived at college in the late 1960s, when second-wave feminism had hit its stride and all the societal rules of Nancy’s childhood were called into question. Those years, through Nancy’s twenties and early thirties, shaped her consciousness and continue to inspire her writing. She now lives in Seattle.
Six-word memoir—Feminist moves west in three steps
MARK WILLIAMS was born in 1951 in Evansville, Indiana. After graduating with an English degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, he returned to Evansville where he sold real estate for many years. Now he writes. This story is the second part of Mark’s five-part novella, Shangri La. On a World War II training run from Dyersburg, Tennessee, his father flew over the Ohio River and bombed the Evansville shipyards. “Bombs Away!” was inspired by that flight, as well as his father’s bombardier pin and Mark and his wife, DeeGee’s, cat Redbud, whose meow sounds like now!
Six-word memoir—Knees said, "Stop running, start writing!"
TERESA WILLIS, born in 1960 in Louisville, Kentucky, had an authentically wonderful baby boomer childhood, As she aged, her gratitude for her upbringing crystallized as she realized how rare her family was. Fun, spiritual, intellectual and life-loving, they still gather regularly despite her parents’ passing years ago. Teresa’s work is often informed by her family and their shared experience, as well as the let-down that the present day seems in comparison. Teresa eventually returned to her native Louisville, where she now lives with her wife, Laura Shine, in comfortable proximity to her big sisters.
SHERI L. WRIGHT is from Louisville, Kentucky. One of her earliest memories was being forced to use pink construction paper because that’s what girls were supposed to do. In first grade, she hated pink and gender inequality, and has not changed her mind about either. A two- time Pushcart Prize nominee and a Kentucky Poet Laureate nominee, Sheri is the author of seven books of poetry. Her literary and visual work has appeared internationally. “Girls Room II” was first published in her book, In the Hall of Specters in 2018.