“Stella Beratlis writes unforgettable poems that stir inside you long after you’ve finished reading them. Alkali Sink is simultaneously domestic and wild, urban and rural, full of surprises and wisdom. Your axis may shift after reading this remarkable book. Beratlis is a fierce talent whose beautiful mind encompasses the land, the open road, the kitchen window, and the heart’s inconstancies. Her first full-length collection is one of the best debuts I have read.” —Lee Herrick, author of Gardening Secrets of the Dead
“In her poem ‘Vitreous Detachment,’ Stella Beratlis asks ‘How do I know?’ In Alkali Sink, a book that is at once sly and precise, honest and unique, Beratlis’s faith in both the interior and exterior worlds can be trusted enough to believe she can answer: with ‘the names of things and their pulpy centers.’ This is a poet in love with the dirt and the lamb, the armored car and the terrible sadness, with chaos and linear thought—everything that might ‘illuminate the several darknesses of the heart’ and the ‘multiplicity of the selves’ within a soul. —Julia Levine, author of Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight
“Alkali Sink reads like ‘a locomotive / speeding through a native West / changing the scale of my earth.’ Central California races toward Greece, memory races toward reality, old age races toward youth, but the poems take their time, too, the way trains do, and I can peer into backyards and orchards and used-car lots as I go. At first I was here and now I am there, and the world I see is different because of how these poems moved me. Stella Beratlis has written a beautiful book.” —Camille T. Dungy, author of Smith Blue
Beratlis is appointed poet laureate of Modesto.
Joan Gelfand reviews Alkali Sink in PoetryMagazine.com
Alkali Sink is one of 6 nominees for the Northern California Book Award in poetry, 2016.
Stella Beratlis grew up in a Greek-American family in Northern California. Her work has appeared in Quercus Review, Penumbra, Song of the San Joaquin,In Posse Review, California Quarterly, and other journals, as well as in the anthology The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay Watershed (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2010). She is coeditor of the collection More Than Soil, More Than Sky: The Modesto Poets (Quercus Review Press, 2011). Beratlis is a librarian in Modesto, where she lives with her daughter. Alkali Sink is her first collection of poems.