Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Tattooed Poets Project: Jen Karetnick

I know, it's May 1, National Poetry Month is over, but I ran out of days! 

We received one late submission and just wanted to share this and wrap up the 8th annual Tattooed Poets Project.

Thanks to all of the poets who have contributed in the last month!

Our tattooed poet for the first day of May is Jen Karetnick.

Jen tells us:
I have seven collections of poetry and five tattoos, two of which specifically relate to mangoes. That is because I live in Miami Shores, a small suburban village that was formerly comprised of mango, avocado and pineapple groves. My house, the former picker's cottage, is on the last remaining acre of a mango plantation. We have 14 mango trees, comprising 8 different varieties, and various other tropical fruit trees. For the past 16 years that I've lived here, mangoes have figured prominently into my work. One of my chapbooks, Bud Break at Mango House (Portlandia Press, 2008), won the Portlandia Chapbook Award in 2008, and my first full-length book, Brie Season (White Violet Press, 2014), features several poems about mangoes. I've also written a mango cookbook, entitled -- appropriately enough -- Mango (University Press of Florida, 2014). 
That said, here are Jen's mango-nificent tattoos:

Mango "tree" on the front of Jen's right ankle
Mango "mama" on Jen's left hip
Both tattoos were inked at Handcrafted Tattoo in Miami.

Jen also shared the following mango-related poem:

The First Mango of the Season
The first mango of the season is in
miniature, precise down to its blush
but smaller than a peach, skin and flesh
hinged to a pit the heft of an almond,
and like furniture crafted for a doll house
it is on scale with the blue jay who flies
with it, clamped in his beak, to the ficus
hedge, where he lets loose the fruit to peruse
it with an eye as practiced as a chef’s.
Propped just so on the twisted crop of bush
that serves as counter for the mise en place,
the jay sharpens his beak on the bark to his left
while the mango waits like a grape for the crush,
the chief of tense change from is to was.

~ ~ ~

Jen Karetnick is the author of three full-length books of poetry, including the forthcoming books American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, May 2016) and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), as well as four poetry chapbooks. She is the winner of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and runner-up for the 2015 Atlantis Prize and 2016 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize. Her work has been published recently or is forthcoming in, december, Guernica, Negative Capability, Prairie Schooner and Spillway. She works as the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter School and as a freelance dining critic, lifestyle journalist and cookbook author.

Thanks to Jen for sharing her tattoos and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2016 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoos are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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