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Ink Link: Writing the Body

Joy Harjo and hand
Joy Harjo and hand

Here’s an unique addition to the body of a poet’s work and publication credits: The Tattooed Poets Project. The visionary behind the web archive is New Yorker Bill Cohen who answered an email interview while at cruising altitude on his flight to Hawaii for a conference on tribal tattoos. And he wrote, among other things, “I am a fickle blog reader...generally won't finish long ones.” So I’m keeping this short. His project is an interdisciplinary response to National Poetry Month. Every day for the month of April annually, the Project features a photo of a tattoo on a poet, commentary by the poet about the tattoo, including both shop talk and any literary significance, plus bio, and then links to a poem. The corollaries between ink on the page and ink on the body are explored all month long, with—as is par for poets—a huge range of both poetic voice and aesthetic style. Amazing archive. Take a look-see. Even New Mexico’s own Joy Harjo with her amazing hand tattoos is featured along with the likes of Kim Addonizio, Jill Alexander Essbaum, and Brendan Constantine (who will be here to perform at Church of Beethoven in August).

Public Comments (2)
  • Tattoo stains  [ Thu Apr 29 2010 6:34 PM ]

    Ms. Harjo is a wonderful writer. I read one of her novels, name escapes at this moment, but does she need to promote this body modification to young ladies who will follow her lead? To most men, it is grotesque. Sorry young ladies, but pretty legs and supple skin looks much better than blue ink. Call me an old fart, but most men agree. I have never heard another man comment on a girls tattoo, except to say it destroyed her innate beauty. Men just shake their heads in confusion when a beautiful calf is graffitied with this mess.

    The funniest one was a 40 year old who had a sunburst design around her navel, that had grown to a nova over the years. She was still proud, though. Good for her self-esteem, I guess.



  • Text correction and another link:  [ Sat May 1 2010 9:21 AM ]

    Everywhere Bill Cohen goes, he "inkspots" and takes photos. The word "convention" should have been in quotes. In Hawaii, he caught a book signing on Tribal Tattoos and did his usual thing, like what he does for Tatoosday in NY, stopping strangers (men and women) and asking if he can document their tattoo. He shares a ton of fine ink that way...

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