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

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  16 reviews
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.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Grand Central Publishing
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As a tattooed woman always searching for more literature on tattoos, I was looking forward to delving into this book. As with any anthology or collection of essays, the quality of the pieces is varied.

It is difficult to convey art in words and that's what tattoos are--art permanently inscribed on the body. So while I appreciated the diversity of the writing, some of it felt rather... literal and sophmoric, like the personal ramblings one would scribble in one's journal during the incredible end
3.25 instead of 3. There is a girl who works at the salon that I go to who I have a rabid girl-crush on. She's about 6 feet tall, curvy, has her hair done in a Bettie Page style with blunt bangs & volume, & her arms are covered in sleeves of tattoos. Part of the attraction is the fact that she looks the way I want to.

Dorothy Parker's Elbow is a collection that inspires the same sort of desire in me. These are stories & essays by people who have explored their skins' limits & the
"This book didn't change my feelings about tattoos, but it gave me more insight into what they might mean to people in various circumstances. On the plus side, stories by Melville, Kafka, Flannery O'Connor, and Sylvia Plath give the book literary credibility. On the minus side, a lot of self-absorbed writers hoping to gain recognition as new talent seem to be struggling to give their identity an anchor through their tattoos. The book publishes pieces that seem like unrevised first drafts. So alt ...more
I really liked some of the poems and short stories in this book. I did have a hard time finishing it, I just wanted to be done with the reading of it. But that might have been from starting before going to Vietnam and finishing it after returning with a 3 week abandonment in the middle. I have tattoos, I liked reading about others with tattoos. It's an interesting concept to arrange a collection around. Although a lot of the longest stuff is in the middle,which when you're reading straight throu ...more
I really enjoyed this compilation of different poems, essays, and fiction excerpts about tattoos. There's nothing life-changing in this book, but it did make me appreciate the art of tattooing even more than I already did. I'm passing this on to my friend who also loves essay compilations.
Carrie Crockett
I know this seems an unlikely topic for an entire anthology of short stories, especially for those of us who have never adorned ourselves with a tattoo, but this volume is seriously fabulous. One of my favorite short stories ever, "It's Bad Luck to Die," can be found within. Not every story is a gem, but most of them are. I would recommend this little collection to anyone.
Tami Garrard
The poem by Kim Addonizio about tracing the outlines of her lover's tattoos, and the loss that ensues, is worth the entire collection. I cry each time I read it.
Nice concept. Some stories and poems are better than others. The only thought that comes to mind, is if you were going to put any literary quote on your body in ink forever, what would it be? This leads to some deep discussions about memorable quotes and if they speak for your personality sufficiently...
katie clancy
if you like short stories, personal narratives etc. and you like tattoos and the cultures whom have sprouted up around the art or vice should really pick this up. it is a great book to keep in your purse or man bag or back pack, for a quick read while waiting for whatever.
this book is seriously awesome! fiction, short essays, poetry. i'm bummed that i took it out of the library because i know i'm going to have to buy it. a total keeper, everything in this anthology sings.
I really want to know if ms. parker did in fact have a star on her elbow, it seems so scence, so hippster. I guess its okay though because back then only sailors and whores and dorothy had em.
Dee L.
I re-read this on a slow day waiting for jury duty selection, and remembered again how much I loved it.
I'm too freckled and indecisive to get a tattoo but I'm still fascinated by the thought of them.
An excellent collection of stories from some of my favorite writers on a very interesting topic.
Jul 20, 2007 Shannon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Tattoo lovers
Shelves: contemporary
Collections of short stories and poems with the central theme of tattoos.

Love it...
Aug 23, 2010 Valiant rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Friends who would 'get it'
Recommended to Valiant by: Gift from my brother Jeffrey
Great short stories by great women. A must read
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I'm the author of five poetry collections including Tell Me, A National Book Award Finalist. My latest is Lucifer at the Starlite, from W.W. Norton. And SFA Press is about to release My Black Angel,a book of blues poems with woodcuts by Charles D. Jones (Oct 2014).

My collection of stories, The Palace of Illusions, is just out from Counterpoint/Soft Skull (September 2014).

I've also authored two ins
More about Kim Addonizio...
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