Claire Askew's tattoos

Last April, Bill Cohen, author of Tattoosday, a blog dedicated to a plethera of tattoo-related info, honored National Poetry Month 2009 by featuring daily posts of tattoos on poets.

Each poet shared his or her tattoo(s) and a poem that was or wasn’t tattoo-related. 

Some of last year’s contributors to the Tattooed Poet’s Project included Joy Harjo, Kim Addonizio, Eileen Myles, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Rebecca Loudon, Mike Sikkema, and Gina Myers, to name just a few.

Well, this year Bill is looking for more poets to share their ink and words to honor National Poetry Month 2010. 

Dese'Rae Stage's tattoo

Now you know when I got his e-mail, I responded immediately.  I think his project is a great thing.  It reminds me a little of Ernesto Priego’s blog, Tattoo Poetics, which is now, unfortunately, defunked.  It’s also another place where poetry & tattoo art can be enjoyed together–something I feel very strongly about.

Anyway, Bill writes in his e-mail, “Like last year, I’m reaching out through Facebook to find tattooed poets for this year’s project. . . . If you are inked and interested, please let me know and we can start the process of creating your entry in the 2010 Tattooed Poet’s Project. If you don’t have tattoos, or you do and this is just not your cup of tea, please pass this appeal on to those poets you may know who might be interested.”

So if you’re interested or know of anyone who is, here’s his e-mail:  Or find him on facebook:

And cheers to poetry & tattoos!!!


So it’s been a while since the last blog, and I’m still a little out of it after all the job turmoil.  Therefore, I wanted to borrow a great post from Marisa Kakoulas at  Marisa did a lot of work compiling her Holiday Must-Have Books Guide, so I wanted to spread the knowledge here.  Find her post at

I would add Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos edited by Kim Addonizio & Cheryl Dumesnil and Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, a classic. 

There are additional books added in the N&S comments, so go have a look and get some gift-giving ideas–just in time for the holidays!
















Wendy Thomas, mother of six from Merrimack, New Hampshire, got her first tattoo at 47, some years after having had six children.  Thomas shares with HRR the place and purpose of her ink, “It was something I had thought long and hard about.  Just below my right wrist (on top), I have a black colon and exclamation point.”

Wendy adds, “I had always wanted to be a writer, but you know how kids (and especially 6 kids) can crowd dreams out. Now that the kids [are] older and [don’t] require my full attention as much, I got the tattoo to remind me in code that

If I want to be a writer, then I have to write:

if I write, things will be amazing (!).

Easy as that. It did it for me; it [her tiny tattoo] inspires me on a daily basis; it reminds me of my long life dream and to “just do it.”  

Something so small and permanent has such a large effect on the inspiration and motivation of one woman who has realized that not only was she meant to be a mother, but also she was destined to be a writer.  Let’s hope it inspires many of us. 

Once again language and art merge into the realms of WONDER and PASSION!

You can catch the rest of her story written by Thomas at

And Let us know what you think!

Tattoo expert has new book

September 8, 2009


Marisa Kakoulas, NY attorney, writer, tattoo expert, friend to HRR, and founder of, celebrates the release of her new book, which, by the way, is “the first English language book on blackwork tattooing.”

Black Tattoo Art, Modern Expressions of the Tribal, according to the author, is “a monster 530-page, six-pound hardcover on black ink tattoos . . . [featuring] over 500 photos from tattoo artists around the world specializing in black ink tattooing.” 

And it’s “the only English language hardcover to explore the beauty of blackwork tattooing in its many forms, featuring interviews and photos from 35 of the world’s best artists working solely in black ink” (Kakoulas).

I’m sure whatever book comes from Marisa will be phenomenal in itself, so check it out and buy a copy!

For more info, check the publisher’s, Edition Reuss’, site, and let us know what you think:

That is the bloody question!

It is pretty normal for poets to submit their work to mags, but HRR wants to know why most–not all–but most tattoo artists tend to be meek about submitting. They post their work all over facebook, so why not send some jpegs to HRR?

1) Is it because they’re worried that their work will be copied? wait a minute–fb is pretty public! and HRR uses the proper legal documentation regarding copyright.

2) Is it because they don’t have time to submit and no one to help them submit?–we’ll help; tell us what we need to do.

3) Is it because HRR can’t pay its contributors?–sorry about that; we’ve tried to raise money to pay everyone, but it seems almost impossible to do! ANY IDEAS HERE WOULD BE GREAT!

4) Is it because tattoo artists would rather have their work in a hard-core tattoo mag than a literary arts journal?

5) Is it because HRR is too new with no one from the “tattoo world” on staff?

We’d really like to get some feedback from tattoo artists and anyone else who would like to help us understand, and, hopefully, create enough conversation to encourage tattoo artists/tattoo wearers to submit.

Please let us know your thoughts/feelings on this. I’m sure I’m only skimming the surface here, so we could really use your feedback.hrr logo