Today's poem is "Setting Fire"
from The Tattooists' Chair

Smokestack Books

Karl Riordan spent much of his late teens in a tattooist's studio, fascinated by the declarations of love, badges of pride and intricate designs that reminded him of the Stilton legs of his grandfather, a miner tattooed by a working life spent underground. In his powerful debut collection, Riordan recalls and celebrates growing up in the South Yorkshfre coalfield — holidays and haircuts, football pools and pool halls, Mackeson and Temazepam, Saturday night and Monday morning. The Tattooist's Chair is a study in working-class history from the Barrow Colliery disaster of 1907 to the 1984-85 Miners' Strike, St Francis in a Sheffield pet shop, Connie Francis on the Dansette and Charlie Williams always having the last laugh.

Books by Karl Riordan:

Other poems on the web by Karl Riordan:

About The Tattooists' Chair:

"An ordinary world illuminated by a seeing eye that persistently finds understated wonder. I love the poet's ability to settle images alongside each other to show us the struggles and joys of a working class life."
—Daljit Nagra

"Karl Riordan's debut is a marvellous book, honest and authentic, rooted in experience. Carefully crafted and skilfully developed, these vivid, vibrant and textured poems narrate autobiographical vignettes, family memories and aspects of life in the Northern working class communities in which the poet was raised. Reminiscent of the early work of Harrison and Heaney, these deeply felt, compassionate and committed poems compel and reward re-reading."
—Steve Ely

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