Here Are the Poetry Tattoos Lovely Enough to Compare to a Summer's Day ...

Poetry is something of an acquired taste, but poets and fans typically love it without reservation. Because poems pack an enormous punch in so few words (usually, anyway), each line matters. Literary tattoos with a poetic bent almost always mean something to and reveal something about the person who has them. These are some absolutely gorgeous examples of how to create an eye-catching tattoo with the lines, couplets, and verses that pierce the heart.

1. A Taste of E. E. Cummings

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Back story: this tattoo is a tribute to this lovely person's mother. Though this particular example of E. E. Cummings (and all its paraphrases) is sometimes dedicated to a lover, it's a perfect poetry tattoo for anyone who wants a tattoo in memory of a lost loved one.

2. A Little Edgar Allan Poe-try

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“Annabel Lee” is full of haunting lines that make ideal ink. It's nice to see this poem getting some love, since far too many people are only familiar with “The Raven.”

3. A Lot of Edgar Allan Poe-try

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And this is “Annabel Lee” from start to finish. That is dedication, my friends.

4. “Once”

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“Once” is the title of a poem tylerknott.com by Tyler Knot Gregson. It is small but perfect. Imagine, an entire poem on your skin.

5. Phenomenal Woman – That's You

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I'd ask you to forgive the volume of Maya Angelou inspired tattoos in this post, except I'm not sorry. Maya's “Phenomenal Woman” is a beautiful, deeply inspiring poem that first and foremost praises and uplifts women of color for the goddesses they are, but touches all women, too. It's for the fat woman, the thin girl, the depressed mother, you, me – all of us.

6. Another Phenomenal Woman

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I'm sharing this one because it includes more of the poem, and I love “Phenomenal Woman” so, so, so much. This is a message every woman should carry with her, even if it's not inked.

7. Just like Hopes

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“Still I Rise” is another poem that often gets turned into a tattoo. Single lines “Still I rise” and “Still I'll rise” are especially popular because they speak of – and often give – strength to survivors of all walks.

8. Those Pesky Bluebirds

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Fans of Charles Bukowski frequently use depictions of a bluebird to reference him, but here's a literary take that's just beautiful. It's simple, yes, but that's because it lets the quote from “Bluebird” speak for itself. The birdcage is the loveliest little touch.

9. And Here's a More Literal Interpretation

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There's a bluebird in my heart, indeed. This is really gorgeous.

10. Shakespearean Ink

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This is from A Midsummer Night's Dream, but many of Shakespeare's plays or sonnets have the potential to become stunning tattoos. You always get the classic combo of emotion, depth, and on-point rhymes.

11. Pablo Neruda Made Permanent

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Pablo Neruda knew the language of love so exquisitely, it's easy to understand the urge to ink his words upon the skin. This line – “I love you as certain dark/ things are to be loved,/ in secret, between the shadow/ and the soul” – is enough to give you chills. If you got this tattoo, whom would you have in mind?

12. Leave the past behind

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Ah, see? This line from The Tempest is just the kind of philosophy to get inked into your skin. Your past is just the start of your story. It's background.

13. Cummings Makes the Cut Again

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It's no wonder E. E. Cummings is a popular choice among lovers of ink, poetry, and literature in general. He's another poet who makes it easy to ink an entire poem – sometimes a line is all it takes. Skin is the perfect medium for Cummings because don't people tend to read your written poems out loud?

14. Nevermore is Coming

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The “Annabel Lee” tats were boss, most assuredly, but I can't neglect at least one of the tattoos dedicated to “The Raven.”

15. Mad Girl's Love Song

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Sylvia Plath, one of my favorite poets, wrote verses that were practically destined to become tattoos. This snippet from “Mad Girl's Love Song” is an excellent example of why.

16. We Should All Love Thunderbirds Instead

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Here's another version with a few more lines, just because. Everyone needs more Sylvia in their lives.

17. More than All

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“Love is the whole and more than all.” Cummings comes correct again. That's not a bad philosophy to live by, really.

18. Howl out Loud

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Say what you will about Ginsberg's doings, he was a warrior with his pen. “Howl” is full of quotable lines, although this is among the most iconic – and the most popularly inked.

19. Helen Has Nothing on You

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Looking for a poetic tattoo that empowers you? Always turn to Margaret Atwood. This comes courtesy of “Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing” and it's another message every woman should take with her every day.

20. So Very Much...

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William Carlos Williams' poetry lends itself well to very literal tattoos that, like his poetry, are beautiful in their subtlety and simplicity.

21. The T. S. Eliot Tattoo Club

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Having a tattoo from “The Hollow Men” myself and adoring T. S. Eliot beyond all measure as I do, I had to enjoy some ink featuring his untouchable work. Here's a frankly stunning tattoo with lines from “The Waste Land” that I kind of want to copy. That placement, at the very least. Wow.

When poetry touches you, it touches you deeply. That's true of all literature, but poetry says so much in such small spaces. Has a poem ever got to you so much that you turned it into a tattoo?

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