Randall Mann

Born: 1972

Randall Mann is an American poet who has authored five poetry collections. The son of Olympic track and field medalist Ralph Mann, he was born in Provo, Utah in 1972. Their family moved from Utah to Kentucky, then to Florida, and the sprawling locales of Mann’s childhood still populate the world of his verses alongside San Francisco, the city where he would ultimately settle. Mann wrote his first poems when he was just nine years old, but it wasn’t until he discovered the work of queer artists in high school and college—Thom Gunn, Elizabeth Bishop, Audre Lorde, Philip Larkin, and so many others—that he truly fell in love with the form and dedicated himself to joining in the rich chorus of American poetry’s queer voices. Mann earned both his undergraduate degree and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Florida. In 1998, he moved to San Francisco, where he was named a Laureate of the city’s public library in 2010. His debut collection, Complaint in the Garden (Zoo Press, 2004), won the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry, and he is a three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for subsequent publications. He also won the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from POETRY in 2013. Mann centers his art around the gay experience, writing with raw and sobering wit about rampant social crises, especially in metropolitan San Francisco. He simultaneously depicts gay love with great tenderness, working with finely tuned tone shifts to cover such broad themes. His most recent collection is 2021’s A Better Life, published with Persea Books. Mann lives and works in San Francisco.


Photo Credit: Quentin Crestinu