Lit for tat! Two needle artists show off the best bookish tattoos

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This just inked: the ultimate in literary fandom.

“The Word Made Flesh” features photographs of tattoos from bookworms across the globe who have permanently expressed their devotion to the written word.

Friends Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor noticed a rise in these literary tattoos, from highbrow pieces inspired by James Joyce’s “Ulysses” to the covers of the “Twilight” books. They sent out a call for submissions, and the tattoos came pouring in.

The resulting anthology has more than 150 color photographs of literary tattoos, ranging from lines of verse, quotations from authors, illustrations of scenes depicted in novels and poems, and even a flaming typewriter.

“We tried to present the crème of the crop,” said Taylor, a Bushwick-based author who, as far as these things go, is tattoo-less. “We wanted a lot of diversity and to be as all-encompassing as we possibly could. You’ll find some high literary stuff in there — Pynchon, T.S. Eliot, ‘Moby Dick’ — as well as J.K. Rowling and Stephen King.”

Talmadge, a Williamsburg-based literary agent, brings the ink cred. She has multiple tattoos on her arms, with her newest — two rectangles, representative of a window and a door, that are inspired by a poem by Daniil Kharms — done to help promote the book.

“I have so many tattoos, I figured, what’s one more?” said Talmadge.

In addition to Talmadge, there are Bryan Waterman’s portrait of Walt Whitman; William Clifford’s seven tattoos, the most from one person featured in the book; Cristina Moracho’s Albert Camus tattoo; and Stephanie Anderson, a manager at Greenpoint bookstore Word, who has nine literary tattoos, including “Words, words, words,” from “Ulysses.”

“There is nothing I don’t like about books, except maybe how heavy they are when I move,” said Anderson.

The authors celebrate the release of their new book at Word on Oct. 28 — and it’s not too late to get in on the inky fun. The authors’ website,, is an online extension of the book, where they’ll continue to post submissions from across the globe.

“If you’re staring down at your arm and wishing you had sent that Bukowski tattoo, it’s really not too late,” said Taylor.

Release of “The Word Made Flesh” at Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096]; Oct. 28 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit To submit your own tattoo, visit

Updated 5:21 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
I bet she wouldn't be caught dead in last year's jeans - but she'll carve a colored scar into her flesh for a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.

Feel free - it's your hide.
Oct. 22, 2010, 9:07 am
V.E. from Brooklyn says:
Wow, Or from Yellow Hook, way to be totally down on creativity. You could just see the book and the compilers for what they are: art and a pair of artists. But no, you're complaining about an ASSUMPTION of someone you know nothing about.

Good job.
Oct. 25, 2010, 3:31 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
I bet those books don't include:

Man and His Symbols

By Carl Jung
Oct. 26, 2010, 4:19 pm
Eva from Williamsburg says:
OR: I wish we'd found someone with a Jung tattoo. Even a mandala. But we do have Kierkegaard, Adorno, and Virgil in the book.

And my jeans? Twenty bucks, at Buffalo Exchange.
Oct. 28, 2010, 12:15 pm

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