Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Francesco Levato on the 2020 Tattooed Poets Project

Welcome, friends, to the twelfth annual celebration of tattooed poets on Tattoosday! Here's hoping everyone is well and looking forward to enjoying a month of poetry and tattoos!

Francesco Levato is our first tattooed poet, who actually sent this to me back in June 2018. He got lost in the shuffle last year, so I wanted to have him lead the way in 2020 with the following tattoo:

Francesco tells us that this tattoo is from the cover of his chapbook jettison/collapse (AngelHousePress, 2015). He notes that "the graphic is meant to be evocative of redaction." He credits Garett (@gj619nca) at Vivid Tattoo (@vividtattoo) in San Diego as the tattoo artist.

Francesco also sent us the following poem, from jettison/collapse:

[Sidenote] The practical activity of externalization.

I sing myself, divine and unbleached, free of external determinant, of the bondage of ambiguity. I am bone and blood. In the maelstrom of affect I am concrete. I speak, and through me speaks the lexical. I name: white bull, vulture, suture, stone, ribcage, flame, smoke, sword. And in turn I am constructed: not stone, but susceptible to, not ribcage, but assembled in part, missing part, not sword, but one capable of wielding. If I say I took up sword against my brother, you can be sure “I” signifies the concept of my physicality, “sword” the material form of the sign, the action, though not illustrated, can be heard, felt, tasted. You can be sure “I” did.

~ ~ ~

Francesco Levato is a poet, a literary translator, and a new media artist. Recent books include Arsenal/Sin Documentos; Endless, Beautiful, Exact; Elegy for Dead Languages; War Rug; Creaturing (as translator); and the chapbooks A Continuum of Force and jettison/collapse. He has collaborated and performed with various composers, including Philip Glass, and his cinépoetry has been exhibited in galleries and featured at film festivals in Berlin, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Poetry, a PhD in English Studies, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Literature & Writing Studies at California State University San Marcos.

Thanks to Francesco for helping us launch the 2020 Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2020 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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