Paperback: 60 pages
Publisher: Weasel Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2016
Dimensions: 5.5×8.5 inches
Review by Ella Ann (Willy) Weaver
Sarah Frances Moran has birthed a collection that is soft, beautiful and speaks to her experience with sexual violence in a way I’ve never experienced before. Sexual assault is a topic that should never stop being discussed. It’s for survivors, the loved ones of survivors, and even those who’ve not experienced sexual trauma to hear these important narratives.
Evergreen is filled with endless natural imagery—complete with a gorgeous cover that I can’t get enough of—as well as Biblical allusions which may appeal to many other readers. While I do love Moran’s style of poetry in this collection, I feel that some of the pieces lacked the visceral punch in the gut language that other narratives from survivors of sexual violence contain. However, there are lines in almost every piece, like “Every I Love You Lied Through Your Teeth,” where Moran’s emotions are illustrated as “and I’m drowning / while you waft by dreaming / of a picture-perfect me / that lit up / every one of your sick fantasies” without compromising the integrity of the poetry by making it too angry or violent. This is further illustrated in “Always Blue” with “[t]he woman I wanted to be died somewhere / inside the girl you found you couldn’t keep your / hands outside of.” Moran’s language makes it difficult to put Evergreen down.
However, a real standout in the collection is “Show and Tell Age 33,” which is filled with beautiful and haunting lines like “I’m going to do a magic trick / Where I splay open and get you to see / that space that falls between the cracks / in my memory / where he touched me” and “A bomb dropped here. / Right there where the spot is. / It went off like a nuclear holocaust and / this is all you can see.” This poem, in comparison to the other pieces in Evergreen, is far angrier and impassioned, the contrast being both startling and amazing.
Overall, Sarah Frances Moran’s Evergreen is a delightful collection of nature, personal narrative, and language that speaks to the soul of survivors of sexual violence, continuing to remind them that they are not alone. Evergreen is definitely a chapbook worth experiencing.