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Star Boy

“In Star Boy, you have captured the grief, loss of what could have been, the reality of what is and the powerlessness of loving someone struggling with addiction. You still have hope but capture the experience that is such a gift in your writing, truly carries you to the universal places you go with this work. There is still shame and stigma associated with mental health and addiction that I see the benefit of this book being wide-spread, from advocates to self-help, parents to providers. I also find it accessible in a way that I imagine book clubs and family gatherings being able to share in the discussion.

There is a statement from Trauma Informed Care – ‘People heal when they feel heard.’ In this way in particular, I feel that the emotional impact of your work will be healing.”

-Dr. Matt Doll

Director of Behavioral Health, Treffert Center, Autism and Outpatient Services. SSM HealthCare St.Agnes Hospital

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There is a statement from Trauma Informed Care – ‘People heal when they feel heard.’ In this way in particular, I feel that the emotional impact of your work will be healing.”

-Dr. Matt Doll

Director of Behavioral Health, Treffert Center, Autism and Outpatient Services. SSM HealthCare St.Agnes Hospital

“I was knocked down by the beauty of Sergi’s language and the power of her truth-telling

“Paula Sergi’s Star Boy is, hands down, the most riveting and moving book of poetry I have read this year. Cumulative acts of unflinching witness, these poems capture of the beauty and vulnerability of the son and his childhood, the terror of his descent into addiction, the ferocity of mother-love, and the blessing and fragility of the return. Epic in scope, but intimate in its detail, this book captures the jagged and multi-faceted complexity of the experience. I was knocked down by the beauty of Sergi’s language and the power of her truth-telling. Illuminated by pain, empathy, compassion, and, above all, the desire to understand, these gorgeous poems shine, bright as the stars that run through this brilliant and original book.”

– Alison Townsend, Author of “The Blue Dress” and “Persephone in America”

Star Boy Hears a Song

Maybe it’s the woodchuck
on his way across the deck
his claws click clicking

or the gray squirrel overhead
on the airing porch gathering
nuts and dropping them in rhythm.

Maybe it’s the downy
tapping on the maple’s
one dead arm.

Or the neighbor’s
garage door grinding out that tune
as it rises and falls,

another sound he can’t explain,
a rabbit caught at night out back,
the snapping of a chicken neck,

the music they call rock
as if an asteroid landed on the lawn
and spun itself thin, a compact disc,

gears out of tune, sound out of time
like railroad humming, passing cars,
clamber of Orion’s falling sword

through earth’s trees, lopping branches,
shouting Timber, stacking drumsticks,
notes piled outside star boy’s window.

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There is a statement from Trauma Informed Care – ‘People heal when they feel heard.’ In this way in particular, I feel that the emotional impact of your work will be healing.”

“Truly a story of redemption and a mother’s infinite ability to love.”

“The poems in this collection tell the story of a much-wanted baby boy who seems bent on adventure and heedless of self-injury.  He becomes a highly motivated and introspective man whose passion for music seems mixed with great anxiety about performing. His mother understands both her son, the star boy, and his fears and troubles as he leaves home. She grapples with her son’s new identity as an addict and as her new identity as the mom of an addict. What had seemed like allergies now are seen for what they are and there are other traces of persistent drug use. The poems depict a mother bent on saving her child, perhaps even recalling her hippie youth and still wearing patchouli oil. 

She has concerns with her family’s role in his addiction: brother and cousins too have fallen from this and so when told there is a 25% success rate, it does not seem promising. In order to survive and thrive the son has to create a new persona in a brand-new place.  Returning home is hazardous and full of pitfalls of reusing. The mother who wanted all the best for her son, including a natural birth, must now face the irony of him being cut out of her body at birth and now cut off from her life. But love wins as a mother’s love will sacrifice all for her child.”

–Linda Remus, mother of Sean. forever 23.