Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission have named “Tortuga” Jack Hackett the 2022 Poet Laureate of Key West.
Hackett, a well-known poet and storyteller, has been in Key West for over 30 years, spinning yarns at poetry slams, story slams, and during guided tours. He earned the nickname Tortuga Jack through years of guided tours he gave aboard the Yankee Freedom trips to the Dry Tortugas. He is a poet, a storyteller, a sailor and a naturalist.
A fervent advocate of public poetry and storytelling, he organized programs like the Song and Story Festival, the Poem-A-Day at the Green Parrot and Blue Heaven, and the Poems for Public Project. He has won the Hemingway Storytelling Contest several times and has published his work in a local anthology.
Key West has been home to some of the most important poets of the past century including Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and Richard Wilbur.
Hackett follows in the footsteps of several other well-known poets who have served as the city’s official poet including Kirby Congdon, Flower Conroy, and Arlo Haskell.
“I am honored, humbled and joyous to receive this,” said Hackett. Then he treated the audience by reciting one of his poems.
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