Karl Tierney was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, in 1956 and grew up in Connecticut and Louisiana. He became an Eagle Scout in 1973. Poetry fascinated him, even as a teenager. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Emory University in 1980 and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas in 1983. That same year, he moved to San Francisco, where he dedicated himself to poetry. He was twice a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and a 1992 fellow at Yaddo. Though unpublished in book form during his lifetime, his poems appeared in many of the best literary magazines of the period, including the Berkeley Poetry Review, American Poetry Review, and Exquisite Corpse. He published more than 50 poems in magazines and anthologies before his death. In December of 1994 he became sick with AIDS and took his own life in October of 1995 by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He was 39 years old.
The book that Karl Tierney didn’t live to see has now been published nearly a quarter century after his tragic death. HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN? is a witty, biting, well-crafted time machine to another era and a reminder of the talent and promise of a generation of artists taken from us too soon by HIV/AIDS.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN? is the second title in the Arkansas Queer Poet Series as published by Sibling Rivalry Press.
“I met Karl Tierney in the 80s, when we were both in Bob Gluck’s legendary gay men’s workshop held in the back room of Small Press Traffic, in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. That workshop, like most back rooms, made for instant intimacy. Have You Seen This Man?, skillfully edited and introduced by Jim Cory, shows us the full range of Karl’s talents. Despite its mordant provenance this is a fun book, radiant with emotive power.” – KEVIN KILLIAN
“Reading Karl Tierney’s collection is like entering a portal into San Francisco in the 80s and 90s, a time when it was still dirty and sexy and alive, even as men across the city were dying. With sharp intimacy, Tierney’s poems had me laughing and crying in recognition for all that we lost. And I’m deeply grateful to the editor and publisher for rescuing his work from the dustbins of history. This is vital reading.” – ALYSIA ABBOTT