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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

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  156 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. ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Grand Central Publishing
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Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tattoos, body, writing
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 collision of exp
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
"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
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Heather Johnston
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked 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
Mar 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jun 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-2015
I've been dipping into this for years. A mixed bag. Some good, some a bit lacking. The Elizabeth McCracken stood out enough for me to look into more of her writing. ...more
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of stories from some of my favorite writers on a very interesting topic.
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I re-read this on a slow day waiting for jury duty selection, and remembered again how much I loved it.
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm too freckled and indecisive to get a tattoo but I'm still fascinated by the thought of them. ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Tami Garrard
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Liz Derrington
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cultural-studies
Both incredibly eclectic and thoroughly engaging.
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Author of several poetry collections including Tell Me, a National Book Award Finalist. My Black Angel is a book of blues poems with woodcuts by Charles D. Jones, from SFA Press. The Palace of Illusions is a story collection from Counterpoint/Soft Skull. A New & Selected, Wild Nights, is out in the UK from Bloodaxe Books.

2016 publications: Mortal Trash, new poems, from W.W. Norton, awarded the Pat

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