Just the Girls:
A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies; A Drift of Honeybees
by Pamela R. Anderson-Bartholet
A gardener tends her vegetables and flowers while devising a way to manage her burgeoning chipmunk problem. A daughter pens a letter to her dead father. Jesus saunters into hot yoga and dazzles the assembled practitioners. Three sisters play on their swing set in the middle of the night. In these—and other—poems from Just the Girls: A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies; A Drift of Honeybees, women support, cheer, challenge, and, ultimately, sustain each other. Just the Girls celebrates women and what it means to be connected to the female whole.
About the Author
Pam Anderson is a poet, lover of blues music, traveler, hiker, and yoga practitioner who grew up in Warren, Ohio, in an area once known as The Steel Valley. Much of her writing focuses on the Holocaust, reflecting stories her father recounted from his service as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne during WWII. Her poem “Pack It: The American Paratrooper Teaches the New Kid to Pack His Parachute” was published in JennyMag.org, and her Holocaust poem “My Brother’s Coat” won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Journals Project Award. Her poetry also has appeared in Whurk, Mason’s Road, Atticus Review, Sky Island Journal, and elsewhere.
She holds an MA in English Literature from Kent State University and an MFA from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program (NEOMFA), which awarded her a Bisbee (Arizona) Travel and Study Fellowship. She has been a ghostwriter, grants writer, and fundraiser for public radio. When she is not traveling with her husband to far-flung places to snap pictures of windows, doors, and lightbulbs, you can find her in Northeast Ohio; Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley; or Charlotte, North Carolina.
Early Praise for Just the Girls:
Pamela Anderson’s Just the Girls is a poetic celebration of female friendship. In brilliantly created portraits of a family of sisters, aunts, mothers, and daughters, Anderson gives us a close look at the many ways in which women matter to each other. The imagery is precise and unexpected including stitchery, bread baking, yoga postures, and a pink shoe discovered beside a highway. “We try to keep safe what cannot be saved,” Anderson writes. “Here you will find the space to be./ Here your heart will pry itself open.”
—Maggie Anderson, author of Dear All,
“Hold/ each word to the last word./ Then begin again.” So concludes Pam Anderson’s poem “How to Read a Poem,” and it serves as the perfect guide for reading the poems in this wonderful book. And when we devote that kind of attention to her words, we find ourselves amply rewarded—the tell-tale sign that we’re in the presence of a poet with an ear for how language shapes our worlds, and an eye alert to the details that make those worlds real to us. What a splendid, moving collection of lyrics!
—Dr. Steven Reese, author of Excentrica: Notes on the Text
Pam Anderson’s poetry leaves you with two impressions: One, she’s just like you. She has girlfriends, goes to yoga, deals with health issues, wonders what Jesus would do, and remembers a fantastical childhood. Two, she gives our everyday lives a voice that is rich and cuts to the quick. She has a gift for articulating the beauties and mysteries of our lives in poetry that will leave you wanting more. She’s the kind of writer who will cause you to sit and read poetry longer than you ever expected. Her poetry is a “chocolate brownie fresh from the oven;” one you’ll want to chew slowly and savor.
—Diane Laney Fitzpatrick, author and social media strategist
Reading Pam Anderson’s collection is like thumbing through the memory box under the bed: a photo of elder women, maybe in day dresses and deep-pocket aprons, teaching a girl to bake family favorites, “Aunts/bending, brushing on cold water,/ and baking hard, gold shells that/ echoed when tapped with a bare knuckle.” Three sisters in nightgowns sneaking out to the moonlit swing set. A woman gaining strength, confidence and wry observations in yoga class: “I manage a reasonably stable roost/ before folding my hands into prayer and adding/ my voice to the obligatory group OM.” These poems are a poignant catalog of what we learn from girls and women, inspiration and cautionary tale, and our complicated memories of domestic life.
—Karen Schubert, author of The Compost Reader
Pam Anderson’s work is smart, sensitive, and at times wonderfully wry. Her singular voice is invitational but without compromise. Her lovely personality is here right with her unsparing eye.
—Thomas Dukes, poet and author