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Paperback Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos Book

ISBN: 0446679046

ISBN13: 9780446679046

Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos

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Book Overview

Previously considered the domain of bikers and a rite of passage in the services, tattoos have crawled from society's fringes and onto the ankles of starlets and the biceps of bankers. In this volume, stories from writers including Sylvia Plath and Ray Bradbury capture the tattoo experience.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

a rich collection for writers & body art addicts alike

I bought this while on vacation in San Francisco and read the entire thing on the plane back to New England. A great variety of short stories, essays, and poetry, this collection brings together a lot of powerful pieces of writing. Tattoos are examined from many different perspectives, ranging from a tool of intimidation and punishment to something beautiful and otherworldly. Parts made my skin prickle and my hair stand on end, bracing for the touch of the needle. I'd been thinking about getting a new one. Reading this solidified that decision.My favorites: Murguia's "A Toda Maquina" & Orlowsky's "Tattoo Thoughts"

ink on ink

Addonizio's and Dumesnil's anthology on writings on tattoos is a great collection of work. You can't go wrong with the writings inside. There is some great (and at times surprising) fiction inside, which includes: an excerpt from Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, Kafka's "In the Penal Colony," Sylvia Plath's story "The Fifteen Dollar Eagle," and Flannery O'Connor's "Parker's Back." O'Connor is always a joy to read, and this story is an especially good one. There's even a piece from Herman Melville (selected from Typee). Steve Vender has a most interesting piece on meeting one of the gang members he is to defend--this is a fascinating piece. And there are also vignettes scattered throughout where people discuss their tattoos, as well as other pieces of fiction. And there's poetry by Thom Gunn, Kim Addonizio, Bob Hicok, Mark Doty, Cheryl Dumesnil, J.D. McClatchy, Tony Hoagland, Brenda Hillman, Laura A. Goldstein, Garnett Kilberg Cohen, Michael Waters, Joseph Millar, Katharine Whitcomb, Eliot Wilson, Bruce Bond, Virginia Chase Sutton, Lissette Mendez, Dzvinia Orlowsky, and Denise Duhamel. Not only does it look impressive, it reads very, very well. I'm not surprised that Addonizio put together such a strong selection of work. I can't think of any other person who would have been more suited to this type of anthology. It's a great collection, one I'm sure everyone would enjoy reading.

Great Writing

Even if you are not a fan of, or have any tattoos, you cannot help immersing yourself in the assembled writings. The editors have done a great job. I found it hard to put this one down. Fascinating subject, fascinating writing. If you appreciate great writing, you'll love this book. You may even decide to go out and get your own tattoo.

think about tattoos instead of viewing them this time

Most tattoo books are collections of full-color images and body shots, exploring how individuals interpret what it is to be tattooed. This book has these elements, but no pictures for a change. Edited by Kim Addonizio and Cheryl Dumesnil, both tattooed, this is a written depiction of tattooing. The collection includes fiction, personal memoirs, poetry and anecdotes on the physical experience and lifestyle choice to have skin art. The title comes from the historical fact that writer Dorothy Parker had a star permanently inked on one arm.The excerpt from Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man" will be remembered as familiar and formative to many tattoo fans. Artists write about what it was like to learn to tattoo and related various ink-related adventures with a wide array of wild customers. Concentration camp survior Paul Steinberg describes his involuntary tattoo experience. Mastectomy survior Deena Metzger's tattoo falls at the other end of the ink spectrum as part of her chosen healing process. There are tales of joy, sorrow, smart choices, drunken moments, good ink and bad.The short lengths of the pieces makes reading this on transit or during those short breaks during the day easy, and the subject matter is a great distraction from the mundane. A definite book for the collection of those who write about tattooing, or are looking for some more historical perspective.

Magic Marker

This book is loaded with great, gorgeous intelligent writing and the signature boldness found in the writing of its editors. With a wise mix of known greats Plath, Doty, Moody, for example, in addition to some new names, this collection never feels like a rehashing. Check out the poem by Eliot Khalil Wilson and work by Elizabeth McCracken. A stunning collection.
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