Mama & the Hungry Hole
Wordcraft of Oregon, 2015
In a narrative interwoven with fairytales, the lines that divide memories from dreams blur in the fourth book of the Wordcraft of Oregon Fabulist Novella Series, Mama & the Hungry Hole, by Johanna DeBiase. Julia is 4-years-old and her Mama has stolen her away to the mountains of northern New Mexico where everything is unfamiliar and everyone is unknown. Lonely and often forced to take care of herself during Mama's many "quiet times," Julia befriends a tree. Tree has been around longer than anyone and witnessed the village change from thriving ranching town to hippie commune to bedroom community. When Julia's Nana comes to visit and a traveling Circus moves in next door it seems like everything will change for the better, but Tree is the first to notice the eerie sensation of nothingness deep beneath its roots.
"DeBiase's exquisitely crafted debut novella straddles a line between magical realism and metaphorical truth in a story that explores ties among three generations of women, the persistence of innocence even in the most desperate of childhoods, and the transformative power of stories and dreams...DeBiase's storytelling, both in the overall narrative and in the actual tales her characters tell, deftly excavates the beauty in brokenness and the strange sweetness in sorrow."
--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (June 2015)
"Johanna DeBiase's Mama & the Hungry Hole excavates the innocence and despair of the liminal child. As activist as it is feminist, DeBiase follows the abrupt agony when the body is confronted with death. Here, mourning yields potent escapism and Mama & the Hungry Hole is a magical curse that we dare not stop reading."
--Lily Hoang, author of Unfinished and The Evolutionary Revolution
"Loss, family-forged shackles and bonds, and the power of storytelling, are at the splintered heart of this engaging debut novella. DeBiase poignantly renders the mystery, magic and terror inherent in nature and childhood., and does so with vigorous simplicity. In what amounts to a deftly executed balancing act: charm holds hands with tender sorrow; reality dissolves inside of dreams; and peeled layers reveal deeper mysteries. Or to spin it another way: an existential fairy tale for insomniacs."
--John Biscello, author of Broken Land and Freezer Tag
Finishing Line Press, 2020
A young married couple is surprised by an unexpected pregnancy. To wrestle with the onset of a multitude of wavering emotions, author Johanna DeBiase begins writing poetry. As the seasons change from winter to spring to summer to fall, she experiences the joys, fears and mysteries of pregnancy and finally, childbirth. She collects her poems together into an artful chapbook titled appropriately, Gestation. Gestation reflects the nature of creation in both art, nature and humanity. Through these poems we discover the struggle for acceptance, the joy of surrender, the anticipation of the unknown and the bliss of the culmination of waiting to finally birth your creation into the world.
“As seasons transform the land around us so does motherhood transform soul and body. Gestation by Johanna DeBiase is a striking four-part poetry compilation showing us that adventure comes in many different forms while ‘each new season, whole again/continues its growing.'”