Poetry. California Interest. Music. Sometimes the ground shifts under our feet and leaves us stumbling, our world changed. DUST BOWL VENUS documents that stumbling, that changed world, and also the regaining of a footing that, if not what we had hoped for, is what we live with. In her second powerful collection of poetry, framed by the lyrics of Modesto-based country-bluegrass songwriter, Hazel Houser, Stella Beratlis explores the landscapes of California's Great Central Valley, the landscapes of fear and hope in the cancer diagnosis of her daughter, and the landscape of regret—what we have let go and what we have gained from letting go. Beratlis pays her characteristic attention to detail, invoking, for example, Louis Armstrong's blue kitchen and the hinges squeaking on an ice chest lid, in order to create her complex, lyrical images. She writes that "ghosts / have always been walking / through the spaces of our home," and she has listened to these ghosts. This book is filled with imagery and emotion that builds and curves and accumulates, leaving the reader breathless, glad for the shifting of the earth that gave us these poems.
author siteSam Pierstorff @ Modesto ViewLinda Scheller @ The Writing DisorderSarah Senseny @ American Microreviews and InterviewsInterview @ KCBP's Arts of the San Joaquin ValleyInterview @ KQBM's A Way with Words
Stella Beratlis grew up in a second-generation Greek- American family in Northern California. Her first collection of poems, ALKALI SINK, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2015. Her second collection of poetry, DUST BOWL VENUS" POEMS (2021) is also published by Sixteen Rivers Press. Her work has also appeared in numerous journals, including Harbor Review, Penumbra, Song of the San Joaquin, In-Posse Review,and California Quarterly, as well as in the anthologies THE PLACE THAT INHABITS US: POEMS FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY WATERSHED (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2010) and California Fire and Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology (Story Streets, 2020). She is coeditor of the collection More Than Soil, More Than Sky: The Modesto Poets (Quercus Review Press, 2011) and served as the poet laureate of Modesto from 2016-20. Beratlis lives in Modesto and is a librarian there.Author City: MODESTO, CA USA