By March 5, 2021 Read More →

Thoughts on Stella Beratlis

Thoughts on Stella Beratlis
By Sam Pierstorff

If you are lucky enough to call Stella Beratlis a friend, you are truly lucky to have a fighter (metaphorically speaking) on your side. Stella knows the pen is mightier than the sword and she wields it well. Stella is an academic and an activist, a poet and an advocate for students. She doesn’t just spout untruths and rage Tweet. She researches, investigates, dives deeply into subjects that matter and then relays that information in a thoughtful and persuasive way. Personally, when I am confronted by a challenging topic, I find myself asking, “What does Stella think?” Then I peruse her Facebook page or email her directly. I never just get an answer in return. Instead, I get a detailed, thoroughly fact-checked, and responsible answer based on research and scholarship. She’s like a human Snopes, but way more fun.

As her dear friend and poet Gillian Wegener writes, “Stella Beratlis has been serving others for decades. In her work as a poet, in her work as a librarian, and in her volunteer work, she has shown concern for the wider community of women and girls in particular, but for all residents of Stanislaus County.”

Stella is a dedicated librarian at Modesto Junior College, Modesto’s Poet Laureate (2016-2020), and a founding member of the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center. As a poet herself, she has written two collections: Alkali Sink (2015) and her second collection, Dust Bowl Venus, is forthcoming from Sixteen Rivers Press. She has coordinated numerous poetry readings, including Writers’ Resist, and has supported the Collision Poetry/Photography exhibit and continues to bring diverse poets to the MJC library to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Whether she is serving as the president of the Modesto Friends of the Library or supporting the efforts of the League of Women Voters, Stella’s contributions to Modesto as a poet, activist, and academic are monumental to those who know her. For those who don’t, it’s time to get to know this amazing woman.

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