The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide

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The Word Made Flesh

A beautifully packaged full-color collection of literary tattoos and short personal essays, The Word Made Flesh is an intimate but anonymous confessional book, in the vein of thought-provoking anthologies like PostSecret and Not Quite What I Was Planning. Gorgeous photographs and candid commentary are collected by authors Eva Talmadge—whose short story “The Cranes” was cited as Notable Nonrequired Reading of 2008 in Dave Eggers’ Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009—and Justin Taylor, author of Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, and editor of the acclaimed short fiction anthology, The Apocalypse Reader.TAT_Erica-Burton_500

From the Back Cover

The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide is a guide to the emerging subculture of literary tattoos—a collection of more than 150 full-color photographs of human epidermis indelibly adorned with quotations and illustrations from Dickinson to Pynchon, from Shakespeare to Plath. With beloved lines of verse, literary portraits, and illustrations—and statements from the bearers on their tattoos’ history and the personal significance of the chosen literary work—The Word Made Flesh is part collection of photographs and part literary anthology written on skin.

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About the AuthorTess Adamski high res - credit Thor at Yonge Street Tattoos-thumb-350x350-54306 Eva Talmadge’s fiction has appeared in The New York TyrantThe Agriculture ReaderNew Orleans Review, and Subtropics, among other publications. Her short story “The Cranes” was cited as Notable Nonrequired Reading in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 (Dave Eggers, ed.).

Justin Taylor edited the acclaimed short fiction anthology The Apocalypse Reader, and is the author of Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. The Gospel of Anarchy is his first novel. wallacefinished2In a five star review titled, “You are what you read” Susan Tunis says.

“I’ve never considered getting a tattoo. They’re fine, but never held any personal appeal… until I saw The Word Made Flesh. It’s a photo essay of literary tattoos, and in addition to the fine editors who put the book together, it owes its success to the creativity and literacy of the individuals pictured within. Don’t expect to see a lot of smiling faces. Most photographs are disembodied arms, legs, and other assorted body parts.
The tats pictured take all forms. Many are literary quotations, and it’s quite fascinating to see the words that moved a reader so profoundly that he or she literally wanted them to become part of their selves. Other tattoos were recreations of cover art, illustrations, bookish logos, punctuation marks, and even portraits of authors.

One of the sequences that interested me most was a press release and a series of photographs from “The Skin Project.” Writer Shelley Jackson has penned a 2,095-word short story entitled “Skin.” It will never be published anywhere. The only place it is being printed is word by word on the bodies of volunteers. The only individuals who will ever be privileged to read the entire text are the tattooed “words.” Five of them are pictured. And once the “words” die, the story will be gone. Very cool.

While the photographs are the central focus of the book (and they’re nicely shot and pleasingly laid out), the text is likewise pleasing and diverse. Much of the text is made up of brief discussions of the tattoos in the bearers’ own words, which are almost always interesting. The editors do a good job, as well, keeping things mixed up. I mentioned the press release earlier. At one point, a two-page short story that inspired a tattoo is printed in its entirety. Elsewhere, a man talks about his tattoo, and the writer quoted responds to being immortalized in this manner.

The pictures in this book are awesome! But after I’d done the quick flip, I went back and read every word of text. Literature is my greatest love, and I dig people who have been permanently marked by their reading. And I really dig this little book!”Dan-Slessor-Brighton-England-3-500x375

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