Thursday, April 19, 2018

Susannah Nevisson and Her Murmuration of Birds (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Today's tattooed poet is Susannah Nevisson, who shared this pretty cool-looking tattoo:

Susannah told us:
"I got this tattoo after finishing my PhD coursework in 2014, and about six months
after placing my first book, Teratology, for publication. The book deals in large part
with the aftermath of extensive leg and ankle surgery I had in 2012. You can see the
scars from three pin sites along my knee in this picture—I have a matching set of
scars higher up my leg, below my hip. Since people often stare at my scars and ask
about them, I decided I would try to make something beautiful out of them, a kind
of testament to surviving both writing my book and the intense period of recovery
the surgery entailed. The murmuration of birds runs the length of my thigh, curving
around the pin sites at either end. It’s not my only tattoo, but it’s the only one I got
while living and writing in Salt Lake City. It was done by Eddy del Rio at Anchor Tattoo (@anchorinktattoo)."
Eddy is now at Tooth & Nail Tattoo, also in Salt Lake City.

In addition to the cool tattoo, Susannah sent us the following poem:

Morphine, The Recurring Dream of Birds

That birds have bones

in their tongues—that they press

your hair in their beaks—that they carry

you home in pieces—your body

boneless as hair—that birds press

your bones in their beaks—that bodiless

hair lines a nest—that birds truss

their nest with your bones—that every

beak widens a wound—that birds

dive in, dive deep—that every wound

swallows a bird—that birds

dive straight to the bone—

that tendons are slender

as hair—that birds

tear muscle, tap bone—

that your bones ring hollow

as beaks—that birds carry

you home in pieces—

~ ~ ~

Susannah Nevison is the author of two collections of poetry, Lethal Theater (forthcoming from Ohio State University Press, 2019), winner of the 2017 The Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize, and Teratology (Persea Books, 2015), winner of the 2014 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book in Poetry Prize. New work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Tin House, Blackbird, Pleiades, Crazyhorse, and The New York Times. Beginning fall 2018, she will be an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Sweet Briar College.

Thanks to Susannah for sharing her work with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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