Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Tattoosday Book Review: The Word Made Flesh

If you're looking for an awesome gift for an ink-loving special someone this holiday season, and you can't afford a budget-buster like Marisa Kakoulas' Black & Grey Tattoo, I'd strongly recommend The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide.

As a lover of both literature and tattoos, The Word Made Flesh is right up my alley and, judging by the long-standing interest in sites like Contrariwise, should be an enjoyable read for many.

Last year, it seems, when I first posted (here) about Eve Talmadge's call for submissions, I was a bit jealous in a why-didn't-I-think-of-doing-that sort of way. But I quickly got over the inkblogger envy and waited with anticipation to see how this would turn out.

The answer: pretty darn good.

The Word Made Flesh, as the subtitle describes, juxtaposes photos of tattoos of a literary flavor, with blurbs from the contributors. There is poetry and prose, as well as more symbolic imagery to represent specific themes.

Compiled by editors Eve Talmadge and Justin Taylor, the reader is treated to a nice range of work, with a handy appendix which gives, when possible, credit to the artists and/or shops where the tattoos were inked.

I wondered, when starting the book, if I would see any tattoos that had appeared on Tattoosday. Sure enough, page 117 features a pair of alphabetic ankle tattoos, one of which appeared in this past year's Tattooed Poet's Project, here. To counteract that, there are two subjects who declined to participate in the same project.

The range of photos and stories is done quite well. We also get a snapshot of Shelley Jackson's Skin Project, and a lovely piece belonging to Katherine Barthelme, accompanied by an apropos story by her father, the late Donald Barthelme. Plus, amazing work like this:

©2010 Eva Talmadge & Justin Taylor

There is something for everyone here, unless of course, you're a barbarian and have never read a book in your life.

I heartily recommend this title and at a list price of  $14.99, it won't break the bank.

There's a slide show here, over at The Daily Beast.

You can read and see more, as well as hear how to submit for a possible sequel, at I also recommend visiting, as well as checking out the Tattooed Poets Project index, which links all the tattooed poets who have appeared here the last two years.

You can buy the book here:

And, as for what's next from the editors, a recent email from the editor's says it all:
"I'm happy to announce that we are now collecting images of music-related tattoos for our next book. Song lyrics, band logos, record labels, musician portraits, you name it -- if it's in your skin and has to do with a musician, song or band, we want to put it in a book. Pass the word, tell your friends. Here's the fine print:

THE WORDS TO EVERY SONG: Music Tattoos from Around the Globe (working title, suggestions welcome), edited by Eva Talmadge.

Submissions now open for high-quality photographs of all kinds of music related tattoo work: band logos, song lyrics, record labels, musician portraits -- if it's a tattoo inspired by music and it's on your body, we want to see it!

We're looking for a wide range of genres and eras -- from classical to rock'n'roll to hip hop, punk rock, indie and soul -- if you ever loved a song or a band or a musician so much you went to a tattoo shop and made your devotion permanent, we want to know about it!

As with THE WORD MADE FLESH, we don't want just the images. We also want a few words from you about why you got your tattoo, what that music means or has meant to you, and any anecdotes involved. How much (or how little) you choose to say about your tattoo is up to you, but a paragraph or two should do the trick.

And of course please do provide us with tattoo artist/shop credit, photographer credit, your name or pseudonym, the city and state or country where you live, and the name of the band or song or composer your tattoo refers to (even if it's obvious).

Deadline for the first round is 12/31

Please send clear digital images of the highest quality possible to Images should be around 2000 pixels across, or a minimum 300 dpi at 5 inches wide, but if you're not sure about all the technical stuff, just set your camera to its highest resolution and send the best photo you can. Text should be included in the body of the email, not as an attached document. Also be sure to include one or more pieces of contact information, so we can let you know if you’re going to be in the book.

And finally, we are indeed still collecting literary tattoos for the tumblr blog, If you have a literary tattoo and want the world to see it, please do e-mail it to us at, or submit it directly (as an image, not text) to
And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't direct people here and here, the tags that link all the literary tattoos that have appeared here on Tattoosday.

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