Every state has their odd features, but Florida has lots of odd features. We’ve got hotlines to call for when there’s an alligator in your backyard. When I first left Florida, I would write stories for my MFA workshops and include details like that, and readers would leave notes in the margins about how weird that was. I’d think, ‘Really—you find that weird?’ That’s Florida.
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Mired in the Florida Everglades and want to know more? Try these next…
The Swamp by Michael Grunwald for a non-fiction historical primer on what Marjory Stoneman Douglas called the “river of grass”
Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen for a campy look at how those bugs and alligators can drive a man mad
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for the best literary depiction of a hurricane — that “monstropolous beast” — ever written
Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen for an American masterpiece about the nation’s other frontier
Florida is America’s Orient, meaning that it is a repository for the appetites and fantasies of people north and west, who colonize it every year, pine from afar for its sultry vistas, and/or pass judgement on its backwardness and savagery. It is a borderland, land of exotic flavors and sounds, Miami and Disney its Baghdad and Samarkand. In our fevered imaginings, it is both a seat of culture and a lawless zone.
"Thanks to all-around good guy and vet Dr. Len Lucero of Clermont, Florida, Chris [P. Bacon], who was born without working back legs, escaped the needle as a wee piglet. Since then, the saucy little oinker and his makeshift wheelchair have gone on to become a shining beacon of hope for kids (and grown ups) everywhere.
… Chris P. and his curly-tailed charm have officially hit the big time. Lucero and Chris just signed a three book deal with Hay House, the world’s largest self-help and motivational publisher.”
At the bottom of this picture is a urinal Ernest Hemingway once took from Sloppy Joe’s bar. He did it in part to piss off his wife, but also because he had “pissed away” so much of his money into the urinal that he owned it.
"As I write this, legislation is wending its way through Florida legislative committees that will enable Gov. Rick Scott to appoint a new Florida state poet laureate. State Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, is the sponsor of SB 366, and state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City, is sponsoring the House version, HB 589. With luck, and some public support, the bills will pass by April, National Poetry Month, and a new laureate could be named to begin a four-year term by June 1.”
- David Axelrod makes the case for Florida’s poet laureate.