The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in th Continental United States


Haskell Named Poet Laureate

Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission, during the June 4th meeting, named Arlo Haskell as Poet Laureate for 2019.

“Key West has been home to some of the most important poets of the past 100 years, including Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, and Richard Wilbur,” reads the proclamation, “and American literature has been enriched by poetic descriptions of Key West’s history, environment, and culture.”

Haskell is a poet, historian, publisher, and literary organizer who was born and raised in the Florida Keys, lives in Key West, and is the author of the poetry collections Fool Proof and Joker as well as the publisher of Sand Paper Press. He has shared his knowledge of Key West’s literary history with audiences around the country; and, as executive director of the Key West Literary Seminar, he has brought leading poets to Key West for public readings, developed poetry-focused programs for high school students, and helped keep Key West’s literary traditions alive and vibrant.

“Here in Key West we have more than our fair share of poets, living and dead,” Haskell said as he accepted the honor. “As Poet Laureate, I’m going to try and build a Conch Republic of letters. I’m starting out with a mission: To raise the consciousness of Key West residents and visitors and make the poetry of the island city a little easier to see.”


In the photo: City Commissioners Gregory Davila, Jimmy Weekley, and Mary Lou Hoover, Mayor Teri Johnston, Poet Laureate Arlo Haskell, Commissioners Clayton Lopez, Billy Wardlow and Sam Kaufman.