Literary tattoo anthology calls for entries


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Some of us are so moved by the text we read that we want to go beyond remembering it -- we’ve had it inscribed on our bodies. It might be a line from an e.e. cummings poem (above), an image from a picture book or maybe even a drawing of an author we love.

A couple of independent editors have decided to take the trend and invert it -- to put the literary tattoos back in a book. Portraits, quotations, representations -- all are eligible. HtmlGiant’s Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge have put out a call for submissions:


We are seeking high quality photographs of your literary tattoos for an upcoming book. Send us your ink! ...

All images must include the name (or pseudonym) of the tattoo bearer, city and state or country, and a transcription of the text itself, along with its source. For portraits or illustrations, please include the name of the author or book on which it’s based. We’d also like to read a few words about the tattoo’s meaning to you -- why you chose it, when you first read that poem or book, or how its meaning has evolved over time. How much (or how little) you choose to say about your tattoo is up to you, but a paragraph or two should do the trick.

Please send clear digital images of the highest print quality possible to

Let’s hope that someone submits who’s participating in Shelley Jackson’s ‘Skin.’ In that project, Jackson wrote a short story that was never published or circulated in one piece -- instead, each word has been sent to volunteers who agreed to have them tattooed on their bodies.

The editors specify that those sending in submissions include multiple ways of contacting them and that tattoo images of at least 1500 by 1200 pixels (a minimum 300 dpi at 5 inches wide) should be attached. Text should be included in the, um, body of the e-mail.

-- Carolyn Kellogg


Shelley Jackson’s ‘Skin’ one of 61 Essential Postmodern Reads
Would tattoos mar these covers? Books bound in human skin