new book from local author celebrates gardening as a poem | Community


An old academic connection led a local author to write a new book.

Marilyn Kratz has published her seventh book, “Inspired by a Garden”, her first book of poetry. The idea for the book came to her when she realized that she had written and published many poems about the gardens.

“Inspired by a Garden” contains 22 poems, some of which have already been published, and 26 paintings by Beverly Behrens. (Behrens is a successful Chicago artist who grew up in Alcester.) Kratz’s book takes the reader through a year with five poems and paintings for each season, as well as introductory and concluding poems.

“When I decided to do the book, I asked Beverly if she would like to illustrate it,” Kratz said. “She agreed. We enjoy working together and have been friends since we met as freshmen at South State Teachers College, Springfield, in 1956.”

Behrens had provided watercolor illustrations for Kratz’s last book, “Quilts and Country Gardens,” published in 2015. Recently, Behrens studied botanical art, which enabled him to paint flowers and plants in the smallest details. She used several of her already completed botanical paintings for the book and made several new ones.

“I said, after my last book was marketed, that I wouldn’t write any more books because I didn’t want to do any marketing,” Kratz said. “But then I decided to do this book because I knew I would have fun working with Beverly. It was difficult but pleasant to match my poems with the beautiful paintings of Beverly.

When they started this project, they didn’t have specific plans for how it would play out and what they would do with it when finished. Not wanting to be pressured by a publisher to do extensive marketing, they self-published. This allowed them to control all aspects of the book.

Loretta Sorensen, writer, author and freelance publisher of Yankton (Prairie Hearth Publishing, Inc.), did the technical work on the book and provided helpful help and advice. Behrens’ husband Ralph, who is skilled in computer mechanics, helped with the process.

Kratz started writing for children’s magazines in 1969, mainly for “Highlights for Children Magazine”. She has published numerous poems in “Pasque Petals”, the magazine of the South Dakota State Poetry Society. Since 2008, she has written a bi-monthly column on growing up in a rural setting for the Yankton County Observer. Kratz has conducted writing workshops in this area and has taught writing workshops for “Highlights for Children Magazine” at the Chautauqua Institute in New York.

Behrens and her husband Bud (Ernest) are both retired and have lived in Yankton since their marriage 62 years ago. They have two children and five grandchildren. She taught elementary school for 31 years.

Kratz’s future plans include writing more poetry and continuing to write his column. She enjoys new challenges in the field of writing.

“Another book depends on how good it is, but Beverly and I are already thinking about the next one,” Kratz admits.

“Inspired by a Garden” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and locally at Dragonfly, Carpenter’s Shop, Mead Cultural Education Center, Monta’s Framing & Design, Muddy Mo’s Coffee House, Boller Printing Company and Rexall Drug, Pied Piper Flower Shop as well as WJ Ranch, Fordyce, Nebraska.


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