a magazine of poetry and prose
Shutterbug is a collection of ekphrastic writing on postcards, born of my need for connection––with friends and pen-pals, with art––during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Archival photographs remind me of the fluid relationship between memory and story. A neuropsychologist once visited a memoir workshop I was taking and explained that the more often we tell a story, the more we stare at old photos, noticing details and trying to inhabit our former spaces, former selves––feeling, again, the soft velvet of our childhood couch under our thumb––the more we corrupt the initial memory. (Perhaps, more accurately, the velvet was stiff, quick to stain.) In this corruption lies poetic truth, lies a chance to choose which stories we tell and celebrate, whom and how we remember.
For too long archives in the United States have preserved artifacts of the powerful—straight, white, male, wealthy, without visible disabilities. With a few exceptions, the names and stories of the people depicted on these cards have been lost to time. I asked each contributor to choose a photo that spoke to them, live with it, and respond with a poem, essay, or story. The result—moments of queer joy and mundane delights, of talking trees and teenage heroes—replaces archival silence with art.