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, have been in Key West for over 30 years, spinning yarns at poetry slams, story slams, and 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 several other well-known poets who have served as the City's official poets, 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.
In the photo from L to R: Commissioners Gregory Davila and Jimmy Weekley, Mayor Teri Johnston, Poet Laureate Jack "Tortuga" Hackett, Vice-Mayor Sam Kaufman, and Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow. Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover attended via Zoom.