Tuesday, March 31, 2015

National Poetry Month Starts Tomorrow!



As I write this, I am perched on the lip of the canyon that has become the Tattooed Poets Project.

What started as an exercise in wondering if I could fill 30 days with 30 tattooed poets, is now a major endeavor. This is our seventh annual celebration of poets with ink, as they say, and these pages will be dominated by verse for the month of April. We certainly had more submissions than we have days in this, the cruelest month, and as accommodating as I had been in years past, double-posting in 2014, I just am unable to swing the same ambition this year.

That said, what will make the April cut will be what I am inspired to share. There are wonderful poems and tattoos that may make the overflow – last year we continued once-weekly, into June. I anticipate that this year, the stretch may go farther into the summer.

I want to thank everyone who submitted and beg pardon of those who may not have made it into April.

Once again I would like to thank Stacey and David at the Best American Poetry Blog for their continued support and cheers.  They continue to inspire and motivate me to achieve this task every year, and for that I am eternally grateful.


Enjoy the tattoos, enjoy the poems, enjoy the month!

This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Not a Tattooed Poet, But a Poet's Tattooed Daughter

In our pre-April anticipation of the Tattooed Poet's Project, I look to Rebecca Foust.

"I don't have any tattoos," she informed me in response to my inquiry about her ink status, "but my daughter Finlay has the name of my book (and its titular poem), All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song tattooed on her head, shaved in order to raise money for research for childhood cancers."

Well, that suits me just fine, so check out Finlay's head tattoo:




Rebecca also shared the poem from which the title and, hence, the tattoo, originated:

Altoona to anywhere



Go ahead, aspire to transcend
your hardscrabble roots, bootstrap
the life you dream on,
escape the small-minded tyranny
of your small-minded Midwestern
coalmining town. 

But when you’ve left it behind, you
may find it still there, in your dreams,
your syntax, the smell of your hair,
its real smell, under the shampoo.
Beware DNA; it will out or be outed,
and you’ll find yourself back
where you started, back home,
unable to refute the logic of blood and bone 
you’ll slip, and pick up Velveeta
instead of brie.  It’s inexorable.
Kansas one day will turn out to be Oz
and Oz Kansas,

with the same back porch weeping,
the same husbands sleeping around,
addiction, cancer, babies born wrong;
the same siren nights pierced
with stars seeping light, all that
gorgeous, pitiless song.



[first published in Margie, nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize.)


~ ~ ~

Rebecca Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from the Frost Place and the MacDowell Colony. New poems are in the HudsonReview, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Omniverse, and other journals, and an essay that won the 2014 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award in the Winter 2015 issue of the Malahat Review. Foust’s most recent book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry and can be ordered at http://www.press53.com/Award_for_Poetry.html. For more information visit http://rebeccafoust.com/.

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing her poem and to Finlay for sharing her tattoo!



This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet and her daughter's permission.

If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Gearing Up for the Tattooed Poets Project - Sholeh Wolpe

Every April, for the last six years, we've featured tattooed poets here on Tattoosday, in what has become The Tattooed Poets Project.

Although many of these poets find me, I have written to hundreds of poets over the last six years and asked the, "Do you have a tattoo?"

Many do not reply, but many do, even those who have not felt the tattooist's needle. Sometimes thy're replies are memorable.

In advance of the seventh (!) installation of the Tattooed Poet's Project, I thought I'd share a few responses.

On February 9 of this year, Sholeh Wolpe responded to my inquiry in a lovely way sending this photo:



and these words:
"Dear Bill,

What an interesting solicitation.
Years ago I was marked by glass.
A scar is an inkless tattoo.
Skin poetry.

Here is a poem, from Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths (University of Arkansas Press, 2013):

We are drinking scotch on Sunset Blvd.,a block from the Scientology church,the tourist trinket shops and the sex parlors.
 I tell him I’m an alien, lift my arm to show my scar,
the way I flash my passport at immigration.
 He bends across the narrow table, pushing aside plates,squints, then runs a finger along the carved  hairlineand whispers,  yes, yes." 
~ ~ ~


Sholeh Wolpé is a poet, writer, editor, and literary translator. She was born in Iran and spent most of her teen years in Trinidad and the UK before settling in the United States.

A recipient of the 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize, Wolpé is the author of three collections of poetry and two books of translations, and is the editor of three anthologies.

Thanks to Sholeh for sharing. It is not a tattoo, in the traditional sense, but it makes one think. And the words are wonderful. Please visit Ms. Wolpe's page here to read more.


This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday. The poem and photo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tina, Illuminated

Back in September, I met Tina on the subway platform, headed uptown.

She had this beautiful half-sleeve, which she kindly shared with me:


Tina credit this to Woodz (Todd Woodward) at Magic Cobra Tattoo Society in Brooklyn.

The piece is inspired by a Medieval illuminated manuscript. Tina told me that the central figures are two saints, that is early Christian in origin, and that it is has a feminist influence.

Thanks to Tina for sharing this work with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ina's Tattoo is Swinging and Hopping

Back in September, near Wall Street, I met Ina, who was visiting from Sweden. She had this fun tattoo on her upper right arm and agreed to share it with us:


These cool swing dancers are really getting down!




Ina explained, "I always had a thing for swing dancing and jitterbug, that kind of thing, and I thought it was cool to do this couple that [are] Lindy Hop dancers."

She credited her work to an artist named Jenny at Stockholm Classic Tattoo, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Thanks to Ina for sharing her swinging tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mike Displays A Watch for His Son, Thomas

Back in August, I met a guy named Mike outside of the American Indian Museum at Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan. He shared this tattoo with me:


Mike credited this wonderful work to Jimbo Fortier from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Jimbo is his artist of choice, clocking over 125 hours of work from him on a full leg sleeve (when Jimbo was more local to NYC at Lark Tattoo in Westbury on Long Island), and counting!

He explained:
"My son Thomas Michael was born on November 7th at 9:36 in the morning ... so I did an old-fashioned pocket watch, opened up to the time and the day that he was born ... and just as a little commemorative piece, I put his name in what would have been the top of the pocket watch if it's opened."
This tattoo is on the inside of Mike's left forearm.

Thanks to Mike for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Maurianne's Filipino Tribal Tattoo

I spotted Maurianne last summer on the corner of Broad and Wall Streets. I was fascinated by her tattoo and had to ask her about it. Check it out:


Maurianne credited this to Nicholas, the owner at K42 Tattoo in Tucson, Arizona.
"These are from the tribal days, so like these parts right here [in the top circle] are to ward off bad spirits. When I pass on, these [vertical] lines indicate that I can go to the next ... to the land of the ancestors. Eyes of god. There's a lot of adornments....from the Philippines."
Thanks to Maurianne for sharing her awesome piece with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.