Praise For Evergreen:
When people say that someone has "poured their heart and soul into a book" they are talking about exactly what Sarah Frances Moran has done with "Evergreen." These poems capture the suffering she endured growing up, whether sexual abuse by a drunken stepfather, physical abuse, a mother in denial, or being homosexual in a very homophobic world. It chronicles a child/teenager overcoming so many obstacles and eventually rising from that despair, still a bit wounded and bloodied, but most certainly still HERE and INTACT. She has scaled that mountain and she has the scars to prove it. If you want to read a book someone has Truly "poured their heart into" then "Evergreen" is it. This is the most personal book I have read in a long time. It takes guts to write a book like this.
-Heath Brougher, author of A Curmudgeon Is Born
Sarah Frances Moran’s Evergreen is a heart-wrenching requiem shouted from the bottom of a barren ravine, for the young girl who lost herself under the heavy drunken hands of an abusive father, but it is also the chanting song of a strong woman bellowing from a mountaintop, fighting to regain her life and reclaim her own body. In her poem “The Difference,” Moran tackles the double standard status quo of blaming and shaming sexually victimized women when she says so clearly, "But I think it’s our inherent societal issue/ that we focus on adjusting the thoughts and feelings of girls and women/ without focusing on adjusting how boys and men direct their desires./ I know and have always known my body was mine./ He didn’t/ and that’s the difference.”
If you ever wanted to peek inside the mind of a poet moving through the process of healing from internalized distress and anger, this book is the heavy ticket inside and through. It is a journey of perspective from inside the young secret thoughts of a child working through the trauma of years of abuse. As though the abuser is in the center of a room, surrounded in a plexiglass column with holes to breathe and listen, the poet fires questions, gives answers, relives hushed secrets, dissects the psyche of both herself and her abusers. Evergreen is that deep journey, a dark and painful hole that manages to somehow find the semblance of balance, of light, of acceptance at the end of a lonely road.
An evergreen tree stays green through the winter, is not stripped clean to the bark, stays strong and vibrant in the face of bitter cold, just as Sarah does, through the devastation that crept quietly into her memories of youth. This book is a poetic face off with abusers, an interrogation of psyche, a coming to terms, and a healing. The wide shade of this Evergreen will give voice and protection to so many women and girls who have faced similar fates. “The Evergreen/ knows the power,/ in letting go with an equal amount of holding on…/ a reincarnation/ comprised of both joy and pain.”
- Kai Coggin, author or Periscope Heart and Wingspan
In Evergreen, Sarah Frances Moran goes deep in her exploration of childhood pathos and seemingly in a desperate search for answers and redemption. It’s the kind of stuff that might make you wince, but it’s real and raw in its honesty, and more importantly it’s delivered with an urgency that makes you believe that it NEEDS to be done. I am honored and pleased that I had an opportunity to peruse and review this. Why? Because prior to now I wasn’t very familiar with Moran’s work. Now I am and it’s right up my alley. She’s not holding anything back. In her own words, it is “…one part Zoloft, two parts Xanax, three parts whiskey.
-Jay Miner, Author of Bulls in a China Shop
In Sarah Frances Moran’s “Evergreen” beauty and survival duke it out on a surrealistic forest plateau. Like humans, the evergreen is sturdy and overcomes trauma to stand tall. Moran writes “I am waiting to stop waiting on healing…Hoping that if a hero shows up to hold out a hand, she’ll find more than a skeleton.” There is a musicality throughout this collection. In “This Evergreen’s Locking up Everyone Who Ever Laid a Finger on me,” the phrase is repeated: “I rely on you. I rely on you. I rely on you,” almost like chanting this mantra will make it true. These poems are vulnerability and beauty on the page: a way to heal after that first cut went too deep.
- Jennifer MacBain-Stephens, author of “Your Best Asset is a White Lace Dress”
In Evergreen, poet Sarah Frances Moran bravely opens her heart and encapsulates raw emotion for all to experience the pain she endured growing up, part of which she still carries through adulthood. From a step-father's sexual abuse to addiction to a series of therapy poems on the sofa, the vivid poems in this collection are sure to make you feel her anger, fear, resentment, and sadness. More importantly, they will leave you different than you were before.
- Laurie Kolp