Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Renée Ashley's Calla Lilies (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Our next tattooed poet is Renée Ashley, who shared this lovely floral tattoo with us: 

Renee gave us a little background on this piece:
"It took me a long time to decide what was right and calla lilies were exactly right. I love it. And I had it put where I could see it— it’s both in memoriam and memento mori. I have this idea that white callas were on my father’s coffin, but that’s almost certainly not true. But it should be. Callas are the most elegant flower; that curve is sensual and enticing. I had the tat done when I was sixty-five (it took me five years to decide what I wanted), by Mike at Evolvink Studios (@evolvink) in Morristown, New Jersey."
Renee also shared the following poem from her book, Basic Heart:


I won’t name them for you, or count them,
each one a door, and the house fallen down.
A wall is a small, simple history. And falling
is everywhere. Imagine the hinged eyes close

or are closed—no, sleep is nothing like
the death. Still, no one dies of bullets
or the belt slung around the neck. No one
dies in the black wade of the sea, not one

by the train, the insatiable train—but
the blurred curve of space about the body,
the space of the body itself, its prodigal
boundary, think of that. What dies before

the heavy body follows? Rattle the skull,
the breath, the will. The walls are sighing.
There is a violent wind kissing the latch.
And there are days I do not know my name.

~ ~ ~

Renée Ashley’s collection of essays, Minglements: Prose on Poetry and Life, will be released any day now. She’s the author of six volumes of poetry: most recently The View from the Body (Black Lawrence Press) and Because I Am the Shore I Want To Be the Sea (Subito Book PrizeUniversity of Colorado—Boulder). She’s also written a novel, Someplace Like This. She has received fellowships in both poetry and prose from the NJSCA and a fellowship in poetry from the NEA. A portion of her poem, “First Book of the Moon,” is included in a permanent installation by the artist Larry Kirkland in Penn Station, NYC. Ashley teaches in the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her seventh collection of poems, Ruined Traveler, will be released this fall.

Thanks to Renée for sharing her lovely tattoo and poem with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

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