Elle Shaman Fashion x Angela EJ Koh Poetry Collaboration

Michelle Kim, a notable photographer in Orange County, California, approached me with a pitch: she had a full team with makeup artist Robyn Renee, renown model Maddy, stylist Amber, and graphic designer Ruthi Auda. She needed a poet to complete her pièce de 2012: a creative and modern fashion spread.

I shuffled through dusty folders and Michelle pointed out one of my oldest, unpublished works, “Shaman.” It was hastily jot down in the back of a scrapbook in two different handwriting. One was mine and the other was that of my first poet professor and mentor Susan E. Davis. The words were my own, but the pacing and grace could only come from someone like her. I had written the lines on separate pages; she had weaved them together. Somehow, the poem became a fusion of the both of us.  Even when I read it now, I can hear her reading it to me out loud. “It’s your poem,” she said but I always felt it was ours. “Shaman” particularly carries much meaning and I’m thankful that Michelle gave me this opportunity to display it in her fashion spread–so the poem could finally show itself to the world.


by Angela EJ Koh

for Susan Davis


If you want to take up space,

first see how small you are

like rocks, honeycombs, and charcoal,


anchoring, feeding, heating.

In the sky, the clouds get

combed like rabbit fur.


If I remember this, I am

learning. You place a flowered

twig behind my ear. It is


a mark of my learning

you—of the blue bell. A person

small like me, but higher.

(see full fashion spread below)

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  1. Paris Kim

    it’s such a wonderful idea to combine both your talents into this one beautiful art.the “Shaman” really drives the rest of the fashion spread and allows me to really understand what’s going on with the different photos– having your poem featured really rounds off the whole concept :)

  2. angelaejkoh

    Thanks for your comment, Paris. So glad you enjoyed the spread. Really was great to finally show “Shaman” since it was buried for so long. I agree, I think the photos and words work together in an interesting way.

  3. Annie Neugebauer

    Hi Angela! This is so incredibly cool. I love the forward thinking of a poem in a fashion spread. I love the spread, and I really, really love that poem. The whole thing is so beautifully done. A very cool endeavor. Congrats.

    • angelaejkoh

      Hi Annie. You’re right. It was interesting to get the two forms together. One that I was very familiar with and another that I wasn’t very knowledgeable in. It became an enjoyable learning experience for all of us.

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