Randall Mann: “The Pool Shark Lurked”

Photographers Unknown, The Pool Shark Lurked

Like eelgrass through a glass-
bottom boat on the Silver River,
I see the state, obscured yet pure. Derision,

a tattooed flame crackling
underneath the lewd, uncool
khaki of an amused park worker.

I was the sometimes boy on a leash,
my sliver of assent in 1984 —
as if it were my decision.

The I-75 signage, more than metaphor.
As if I had the right to vote.
The slumber parties then were hidden wood;

the tea so sweet, the saccharin
pink and artificial, like intelligence.
The science sponsored in part by chance.

I made my acting debut with the red
dilettante down the street, “Rusty” Counts,
in Rusty Counts Presents: Suburbs of the Dead,

straight to VHS. My parents phoned a counselor.
A palmetto bug read Megatrends on the fold-
ing chair by our above-ground swimming pool …

The pool shark lurked, but not to fear.
The end unknowable, blue, inmost, and cold,
like the comfort of a diplomatic war.

—Randall Mann, Florida, Poetry, October 2015

Born in Provo, Utah, in January of 1972, Randall Mann is an American poet, the only son of Olympic medalist Ralph Mann. He spent his younger years in Kentucky and Florida, a time in which he was encouraged to read a wide range of literature. In his senior years in high school, Mann’s teachers supported his writing of poetry which he continued into his college years. Mann graduated with a BA and a MFA from the University of Florida. Since 1998 he has lived in San Francisco.

Randall Mann’s poetry is mostly influenced by the English poet Philip Larkin, whose poems are most often reflections of plainness and skepticism, the 1980 Pulitzer Prize Poetry winner Donald Justice who shared his insight into loss and distance, American poet Elizabeth Bishop whose work is formed with precise description and poetic serenity, and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda whose two-volume “Residencia en la Tierra” made him a renowned international poet.

In his work, Randall Mann explores the themes of loss, expectation, brutality, attraction, and the unabashed experiences of living a gay life. He is accomplished in the formalist design of the poem and has a witty sense in where he places his line-breaks. Mann projects a wide range of emotions in his work which is emphasized by the word choice he uses to set the poem’s tone. Usually set in the countrysides around San Francisco or in Florida, his poems often reflect the contrasts between the countryside beauty and the serious social problems inside city life, which includes the spreading of homelessness and random criminal attacks against the gay community.

Mann’s collections include the 2004 “Complaint in the Garden”, which won the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry; “Breakfast with Thom Gunn”, published in 2009 and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and the California Book Award; the 2013 “Straight Razor”, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and “Proprietary” published in 2017 and a finalist for the Northern California Book Award and Lambda Literary Award.

In addition to his poetry collections, Randall Mann is the author of “The Illusion of Intimacy: On Poetry”, a 2019 book of criticism in which Mann applies his attention to language, fearlessness, and sharp wit to a collection of musings, reviews, autographical sketches, and readings on the art of poetry. Mann also co-authored the seventh edition of“Writing Poems”, which was published in 2007.

A small collection of Randall Mann’s poetry can be found at the Poetry Foundation located at: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/randall-mann#tab-poems

Machado Silvetti

Machado Silvetti, “Asian Art Study Center”, 2016, Terra-Cotta Facade, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida,

The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, is famed for its ornate Venetian-Gothic mansion named “Cà d’Zan”, meaning “House of John” referring to John Ringling, one of the famed owners of the Ringling Brothers Circus, who resided in the mansion with his wife. Construction started in 1924 on the mansion that was designed by New York architect Dwight James Baum. Baum’s design embodied the palazzos that line the Venice canals, emulating the Italian decor that the Ringlings fell in love with on their many trips to the Mediterranean.

The Boston firm Machado Silvetti used the showpiece structure of the mansion as a precedent for their design for the museum’s extension of the Asian Art Study Center. This new project included the conversion of approximately 18,000 square feet of preexisting gallery space from a temporary exhibition area to permanent galleries. Catering to the museum’s developing Asian collection, the scheme also included a gut renovation of the west-wing galleries, located to the southwest.

The most visually striking aspect of the project is the shimmering terra-cotta facade of the new addition. Asked for a monumental entrance to museum, Machado Silvetti created something unique to the site. More than three thousand jade-colored tiles clad the elevated extension, the color a nod to the  natural surroundings but in opposition to the original pink Italian buildings. The facade with the tiles’ large mass helps combat heat gain while also acting as a barrier wrapping the extension from the elements.

Nancy Elwood

Nancy Elwood, “The Eye of a Gator”, 2015, Apopka, Florida

Nancy Elwood is a photographer living and working in Florida. She shot this photograph of a big alligator along the road of the Apopka Wildlife Drive in Apopka, Florida in October of 2015. It  was taken with a Nikon D81o. This photograph was entered in the 2016 Nature/Animal Category of the National Geographic Photography Contest.

Ardmore Ceramics

Ardmore Ceramics, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Ardmore Ceramics in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa has grown into a vibrant art pottery making unique pieces of ceramic art. Since 1985, artist Fee Halsted has created modelers and painters from the local community and they have become renowned for their exuberant use of color and their distinctive modeling of African flora and fauna. Each of the unique ceramics are made by several of the artisans working together; one modeling the basic form, one creating the minute details, one painting. On the bottom of each piece are the signatures of all who participated in its creation.

The sale of these wonderful pieces of ceramic art uplifts and supports the Ardmore community and their families. New pieces are selected for exhibition at the Pescoe Gallery in northern Miami, Florida. Special commissions are also undertaken for collectors.

Calendar: April 2

A Year: Day to Day Men: 2nd of April

The Scarf with Fringe

On April 2, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon first sights land in what is now the United States state of Florida.

In September 1493, some 1200 sailors, colonists and soldiers joined Christopher Columbus for his second voyage to the New World. Ponce de León was a member of this expedition, one of two hundred ‘gentlemen volunteers’. The fleet reached the Caribbean in November of 1493, and their primary destination of Hispaniola, now Puerto Rico. In 1504 the appointed governor of Hispaniola, Nicolas de Ovando, assigned Ponce de León to crush the rebellion of the native Tainos people. For this service, he was awarded a land grant and became the frontier governor of the defeated province.

Urged by King Ferdinand of Spain, Ponce de León equipped three ships with at least 200 men at his own expense and set out from Puerto Rico on March 4, 1513 in search for new lands and riches. The fleet crossed open water until April 2, 1513, when they sighted land which Ponce de León believed was another island. He named it la Florida in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). The precise location of their landing on the Florida coast has been disputed for many years.

Although Ponce de León is widely credited with the discovery of Florida, he almost certainly was not the first European to reach the peninsula. Spanish slave expeditions had been regularly raiding the Bahamas since 1494 and there is some evidence that one or more of these slavers made it as far as the shores of Florida. Another piece of evidence that others came before Ponce de León is the Cantino Map from 1502, which shows a peninsula near Cuba that looks like Florida’s and includes characteristic place names.

In early 1521, Ponce de León organized a colonizing expedition consisting of some 200 men, including priests, farmers and artisans, 50 horses and other domestic animals, and farming implements carried on two ships. The expedition landed somewhere on the coast of southwest Florida likely in the vicinity of Charlotte Harbor or the Caloosahatchee River. Before the settlement could be established, the colonists were attacked by a large party of native Calusa warriors. Ponce de León was mortally wounded in the skirmish when, historians believe, an arrow poisoned with manchineel sap struck his thigh. The expedition immediately abandoned the colonization attempt and returned to Havana, Cuba, where Ponce de León soon died of his wounds.

Larry Vienneau Jr.

Larry Vienneau Jr., “Ravens Like Shiny Things”, 2010, Intaglio Etching, 5 x 7 Inches

Larry Vienneau Jr. is a  Professor of Art at Seminole State College of Florida. His beautiful prints of ravens are available for sale. Please visit his site to see more etchings and find information on his etching process. I have a space on my wall for some of these.     https://www.etsy.com/shop/RAVENSTAMPS?section_id=7757924&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2

Please credit the artist if you reblog these images. Thanks.