After several years in the making, I am excited to announce the release of a beautiful book curated and edited by Joell Hallowell and Meg Withers. I was one of the 28 poets who contributed writing and found photographs to this collection, available in hard cover and as an ebook.
On a personal note, there is a story from my childhood that sometimes gets repeated in my family. I used to save up my allowance to buy candy or toys from yard sales in our neighborhood. One weekend I went to a yard sale down the block, and came back with a photo album. The entire album was filled with black and white photos from the 1940’s and early 1950’s, but it was clear in paging through the album that it was not focused on the people in the photographs, but the dog in the photographs: a boxer. There were no notes in the album, other than names and dates on the backs of the photos, which were affixed to the heavy black paper with cloth tape. In the beginning photos: a day at the beach, playing on the front lawn, posing with various children, asleep on the porch in the sun- the dog was young. By mid-way through the album, the dog, along with the children, had grown older, and finally, one of the last photos was of a gray-muzzled dog with milky eyes, with a young boxer puppy sitting next to her. I remember the look on my stepmother’s face when I brought that album home-: I didn’t understand then why it struck her that of all the things I could choose to buy, that is what I wanted. The book has been lost, physically, since– but it has become a template within me that I carry everywhere. I still feel compelled to collect the photographs of strangers. Especially those of people and animals who are most certainly dead now. This is not a morbid fascination in any way: it’s not about death at all. It’s about life.
The photos I contributed to this book were of strangers. I found these photos in various locations throughout San Francisco: second-hand stores, antique shops, even forgotten between the pages of used books.
A tribute to unknown women, “Shadowed: Unheard Voices” is an anthology of 146 prose poems and 50 compelling photographs. 28 women poets were invited to respond to an eclectic assortment of images from the late 1800s to the 1940s. Delving into the nature of memory and loss, the poets wondered, invented, and conjured the lives of unknown women—those who left no legacy, only a fading image from which to speculate. The resulting book is a collection of imaginative prose poems from contemporary writers under the influence of the mystery and magnetic force of photography.
List of contributors:
Ellen Bass, Rita Flores Bogaert, Aurora Brackett, Gina Maria Caruso, Maxine Chernoff, Chella Courington, Rachelle Escamilla, Rae Freudenberger, Joell Hallowell, Gabriela Jauregui, Tsipi Keller, Susanna Kittredge, Ali Lawrence, Genny Lim, Tanuja Mehrotra, Toni Mirosevich, Gail Mitchell, L.J. Moore, Tiare Picard, Jennifer Reimer, Susan M. Schultz, Deema K. Shehabi, Jennifer Sweeney, Yolanda Valenzuela, Mary Michael Wagner, Deborah Wood, Meg Withers, Aileen Yoo