The Tattooed Poets Project: Julie Platt

I always feel like I'm not doing a tattoo justice when it wraps around a curved limb. Generally, I will be reluctant to showcase a piece without displaying the entire tattoo, even if that means multiple pictures shot from different angles.

Today's tattoo is one of those rare designs that is worth sharing, even if the reader can't behold every inch of it.

Julie Platt sent these photos, along with an explanation, which follows:

Julie says
"It's the audio waveform of a blackbird song made into bracelet around my left wrist. It's inspired by an image on the cover of Kate Bush's album Aerial.

I got this tattoo to commemorate earning my MFA -- I wanted something visible to remind me of poetry, whose root is song."
The tattoo was inked by Chris Boilore at Fish Ladder Tattoo, in Lansing, Michigan.

Check out one of Julie's poems over on BillyBlog here.

Julie Platt was born and raised in Pittsburgh and now lives in Michigan. Her print poetry chapbook, In the Kingdom of My Familiar, was published by Tilt Press in 2008. My mini e-chapbook, Imitation Animals, was published by Gold Wake Press in 2009. Two poems from
Imitation Animals were selected to appear in Dzanc Books' Best of the Web 2010. My work will also appear in the forthcoming e-anthology Poems to Sweat By: Hungry Young Poets 2009, published by VanVinkinroy's Indie e-Book Emporium.

Thanks to Julie for sharing this great tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Rob Talbert

Today's tattooed poet is Rob Talbert, who was pointed in our direction by Adam Deutsch.

Rob has seven tattoos, but points out that 80% of his back is covered. The tattoo he submitted for us to enjoy has special meaning for him:

Perched on his upper back, a quick glance might prompt someone to say "What is that?" Clicking on the photo will enlarge it for better detail. But more importantly, iy's not really about what it is, but what it represents to Rob. We'll let him explain:

I lived in Corpus Christi, TX for three years. It's one of those towns where there's an impressive absence of entertainment and an overabundance of bars. I've always wanted tattoos and decided it was a suitable time to get inked since all my money was going to booze. And college. Those are synonyms, I think.

Forever Art Tattoo is a small shop in the corner of an eroding shopping center along South Padre Island Drive. The first time I walked I met Jim Sweeney, a hardcore biker who never opened his eyes all the way, called me Brother, and spoke in a very loud monotone voice. I liked him immediately. It was obvious I'd never been in a tattoo shop before and, though I didn't know it at the time, he was charging me very reasonable rates. Jim wound up tattooing my whole back and did a damn good job of it. Most of the work is custom, and a good percentage was done free-hand; some people don't trust their spouses that much.

My favorite aspect of this particular tattoo is that it's original. It's not something I pulled off the wall or brought in to him. This tattoo doesn't represent something in MY life, or MY ideas, or MY friends and family. It represents Jim completely and independently artistic of me. Jim conjured this from the depths of his mind and my only instructions were "give me something badass." I believe he did.

Wherever you are Jim, I hope you've got a good looking woman and your bike is riding smooth. Thanks Brother.
From what I can tell from the shop site and their MySpace page, Jim is still going strong.

Please head over to BillyBlog to check out one of Rob's poems here.

Rob Talbert is a native Texan and currently pursuing his MFA at Virginia Tech. His poetry has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The American Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Southern Poetry Review. He was selected for 2009 Best of the Net and nominated for 2009 and 2010 Best New Poets.

Thanks to Rob for sharing his tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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Here is the recent piece my client Rich came thru to complete the neck and add to his collection.
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Vivica A. Fox Tattoos

Vivica A. Fox is a fabulously beautiful American actress, best known for her role in the movie, Set It Off and Booty Call.

Vivica A. Fox quite a collection of tattoos on her, including a rose and a string of veins on her lower back, which she calls her "handle bars".

The lovely actress also has a small fox tattoo on her right arm, plus small ring around her toe.

Some of her other tattoo designs include, a large cross on her back right shoulder blade, and a vertical line of three Chinese characters on her back left shoulder blade.

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Derek Fisher Tattoo

Derek Fisher is and excellent American professional basketball player, known for his time spent with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Derek Fisher has a Chinese tattoo design on his inner right forearm, which means "faithful, heart, mind and spirit".
Derek Fisher arm tattoo.
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The Homie JoDoz from Germany came thru to add more to his collection..
The Portraits were done by Tin Tin from France.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Jackie Sheeler

Today's tattooed poet is no stranger to us here on Tattoosday. Jackie Sheeler appeared last year on the Tattooed Poets Project and came back to share some more. Be sure to look at last year's contribution here, to get a little perspective about Jackie and her ink.

This new piece is on her outer right thigh:

Jackie says she doesn't "have a long story about this tattoo the way [she] did about [her] others!". Nonetheless, it's lovely work and no less worthy of sharing, story or not.

Jackie credits this piece to “Triple X Jess,” who works out of The Kingdom Tattoo & Body Piercing in Manhattan.

Be sure to head over to BillyBlog to check out a new poem from Jackie here.

Jackie Sheeler is a poet, musician, and performance artist in New York City. You can also read her blog, Get Angry With Me, here, or visit her band, Talk Engine, on MySpace Music here. Her other site is being redesigned and the new site is launching later this week.

Thanks again to Jackie for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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Craig Ferguson Tattoos

Craig Ferguson is a marvelously funny Scottish-American television host and comedian, best known for hosting The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Craig Ferguson has three tattoos to speak of including the phrase "Join or Die" on his right forearm, which is a famous political cartoon created by Benjamin Franklin. The tattoo is of a severed snake, with each piece of the snake representing a British American colony or region.

His other tattoos include, the Ferguson family crest along with the phrase "Dulcius ex aspiris" or ("Sweeter after difficulty") and the Ingram family crest, in honor of his mother.

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Fatboy Slim Tattoo

Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) is a fantastic English DJ, known for the song "Praise You".

Fatboy Slim has a smiley face with cross-bones tattooed on his right shoulder.
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Here are a couple fliks of the new watch I got from the Homie Ben over at IF&Co
He killed it with this ONE! Thanks Pimp!
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Lea Banks

Today's tattooed poet is Lea Banks.

Lea sent along several photos of her work, so let's not waste any time checking out her ink.

Descriptions from Lea follow each photo.

"Vita Nuova" was the first tattoo celebrating my divorce, my new life. I was deep into Dante, especially the Purgatorio. I had read three translations and was taking a break when someone gave me La Vita Nuova. The thirty poems fascinated me --- they were so personal, an autobiographical narrative in which Dante wove a web of romance and emotion. Such spiritual inspiration was integral at that time! I was interspersing Dante with Emily Dickinson then and I had the same artist at Mom’s Tattoo Studio in Keene, NH do the tattoo on my right shoulder. You know … “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” I still felt I was contained lightning from the wreckage of my marriage; wanting to tell the truth in my poetry but having a hard time with it. So this was the design I came up with. I’m actually thinking of having the lightning go outside the circle … I am NOT contained anymore!

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

...Done in 2004, [this tattoo] was my version of a design from the Book of Kells, an Irish manuscript containing the Four Gospels. My daughter and I were visiting England and were staying at a B&B in Glastonbury. One day, she decided to climb the green hill of the Tor, crowned with the tower dominating the town and the surrounding landscape. I had to sit it out because my foot was giving me trouble. My foot at that time had undergone four surgeries. I picked up a book showing illustrations from the Book of Kells. I dreamt of this dragonfly tattoo on the plane ride back and took my vision to a tattoo artist at Blackbear Tattoo & Jewelery Company in Brattleboro, VT. I was very pleased with the result: three dragonflies facing different directions signifying healing movement for my foot. Although I had a fifth surgery, I started walking again and even running. I promised Sarah that we’d return and climb the Tor together.

And my personal favorite...

The fourth tattoo on my left bicep, done by Pygmalion’s Tattoo in Greenfield, MA, is a quote by William Carlos Williams, “Nothing whips my blood like verse.” I had it done right before the AWP conference in Chicago and bore it proudly. The whip that winds throughout the quote was a flourish done by the artist. I ran into a friend who was a W.C. Williams scholar and he said he had never heard it attributed it to Williams! I swear it was in a book or on the web and if anyone can tell me different, please do.
Good news, Lea, I found reference to it in The Selected Letters of William Carlos Williams (1957).

Please be sure to check out one of Lea's poems over on BillyBlog here.

Lea Banks lives in Western Massachusetts. She is the author of the chapbook All of Me, (Booksmyth Press, 2008). She was a finalist for The Pavel Srut Fellowship in Prague and had two poems nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. Banks is the founder of the nationally-known Collected Poets Series in Shelburne Falls, MA and editor of Oscillation: Poetry in Motion. She was the former poetry editor of The Equinox and editorial assistant for the Marlboro Review. She attended New England College’s MFA program, facilitated stroke survivors’ writing workshops, and is a full-time poet, community organizer, freelance editor and writer. Banks has published in several journals including Poetry Northwest, Slipstream, Diner, and American Poetry Journal. See more here:

Thanks again to Lea for sharing her tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

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Jackie's Transcendent Tattoo

I met Jackie briefly on the 34th Street subway platform earlier this month, waiting for an A train.

She was sporting this rather nifty tattoo on her left foot:

That is, of course, the symbol for Om, which carries significant meaning.

Jackie does a lot of yoga and said that, to her, the symbol "represents transcendence".

It was inked by Matt Kimball at Timeless Tat2 in Bordentown, New Jersey.

Thanks to Jackie for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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Here is one of a client who wanted to get a small piece for his first tattoo.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Chenelle Milford

Our tattooed poet today is Chenelle Milford.

In a first here at the Tattooed Poets Project (and I believe Tattoosday, as well), our photo was taken on the tattooed individual's wedding day:

There's two tattoos visible in this photo: the nautical star and, if you look closely, some letters running vertically on the left side of Chenelle's back.

The nautical star is a popular "classic" tattoo design as it originates in the culture of sailors, who brought the art of tattooing to the attention of European and North American society. Chenelle notes more specifically that the star on her neck represents her home, Northern California and that"it means that I can always find my way home, like a sailor on the open sea".

Chenelle notes that

"My most meaningful tattoo (although not necessarily the most photogenic) is [on] the shoulder... that reads OLAE 08.

My best friend had, on her right shoulder, SUMTS 09. When we would stand together, you could read back and forth across the shoulders, and the letters would spell SOULMATES. She died on May 22nd, 2009, in a car wreck at 25 years old, so I am grateful to have that memory of her."
Both tattoos were done at Ink Wizard Tattoos, in Griffin, Georgia. She credits an artist named Mike Stout with the nautical star and Gary Hall with the OLAE tattoo.

Please be sure to head over to BillyBlog to check out Chenelle's poem "little Red Riding Hood" here.

Chenelle C. Milford, a native Californian and poet, is the manager, web-designer, consultant, all-around aficionado, and archivist of the Joe Milford Poetry Show. She is the founder and editor of the new literary journal, Scythe. Additionally, she is a film-maker, writer, humanist, and a wonderful wife and mother. Together, Joe and Chenelle Milford are compiling an extensive online sonic archive, a library of archived materials that can be accessed, which share writing and impressive interviews of many of today's established and up-and-coming poets. Some of her work is displayed on New Aesthetic. She now resides in rural Georgia with her husband and two daughters. She is working on college and writing poetry as time permits.

Thanks to Chenelle for her participation in the Tattooed Poets Project!
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Perry Farrell Tattoo

Perry Farrell is a brilliantly talented American muscian, known as the frontman as the rock group Jane's Addiction.

Perry Farrell has a single tattoo design that we know about, the tattoo is of a preying mantis insect and is located on his right shoulder.
Perry Farrell tattoo design on arm.

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Eve Tattoos

Eve is a fabulous American recording artist and actress, best known for her hit debut album entitled Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders' First Lady.

Eve has a handful of tattoos which we have spotted, including two paw prints between her breasts, and a flower on the back of her right wrist area.

The artist also has an unknown tattoo design on her left bicep area.

She is also said to have a tattoo on her back right shoulder blade.
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Here are some fliks from the Archives.. This is the Homie Paul Wall and his collection.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Cathryn Cofell

Today's tattooed poet is Cathryn Cofell.

Cathryn prefaced her tattoo by telling me:

"My tiny tattoo pales in comparison to some...Most of my adult life, I've wanted one, but always held back because I either 1) didn't know what I wanted or 2) feared I'd change my mind as soon as it was done (I change my mind as often as a hummingbird's heart beats) or 3) was working for a relatively conservative company."
This last concern is one that everyone should consider when getting a tattoo. Not that Tattoosday is an Ink Advice blog, but companies can legally discriminate (and often do) against tattooed individuals, which is something many people do not think about when getting inked. At the time that Cathryn got her tattoo, she "was working for a credit union with a strict 'no visible tattoos policy' and ... was part of the management team that actually wrote that policy". She does point out that she was out-voted by the anti-tattoo contingency.

So, Cathryn says,
"This was the compromise -- small, discreet, but powerful -- and not so discreet that I had to become a pretzel or strip completely naked to see it for myself or show it to others....

The symbol I finally chose is one that I wore around my neck as a talisman for many years: the Nile River Goddess, Nathor, who represents strength, triumph, success. I was at one of those turning points in my life -- feeling low and falling lower, needing her and those ideals to be more firmly etched in and on me.

She turned my life around that day. I've thought about another since and probably will some day, but see 1, 2 and 3 above and you'll know why I'm still waiting!
The poem that Cathryn sent us, seen here on BillyBlog, "came out on the drive home, scribbled on an old napkin".

Thanks to Cathryn for participating in the Tattooed Poets Project!

Cathryn Cofell is the author of five books, most recently Kamikaze Commotion (Parallel Press). She's received 40+ awards for her poetry and essays which also appear in scads of journals and anthologies. She is a zealous advocate for the arts, having served as founding Chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, on the board of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and currently as Chair of the Verse Wisconsin Advisory Board and a pro-arts voice wherever she'll be heard.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Seth Berg

Today's tattooed poet, Seth Berg, is very tattooed. Not only does he say he is "extensively tattooed," he qualifies such a statement: "over 60 sessions under the needle".

He sent several photos, but the most impressive and, from what I can tell, his most special one is this "mammoth beast" of a tattoo (his words, not mine) on his ribcage:

In case you were wondering, this amazing leaf "goes from [his] pelvic bone to [his] armpit and blankets [his] entire ribcage".

The tattoo is an oak leaf, inked in celebration of his son, Oak, who turns 1 on May 8th.

The tattoo was completed in one six-hour session (with only one break for water and a stretch). The artist was Kat Richards from Live Fast Die Young Tattoos in Northeast Minneapolis.

Seth Michael Berg earned his MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University in 2003 and has since been bouncing around the country teaching, tending bar, sculpting, writing, and occasionally snowshoeing. His poems and fiction can be found in Connecticut Review, Lake Effect, Word Riot, JMWW, 13th Warrior Review, Chiron Review, BlazeVOX, Pike Magazine, Disappearing City Literary Review, and Dark Sky Magazine, among others. Berg lives in Minneapolis with his photographer wife, Ashley, their supernatural son, Oak, and their twelve-year-old English Bulldog, Bob. When not working, Berg can most likely be found indulging his addiction to hot sauce or slowing down somewhere in a forest.

Check out his poem "Aphasia" over on BillyBlog.
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