a woman sitting on the ground in front of a brick wall
The Key West city commission on April 11 named Emily Schulten Weekley the 2024 Key West poet laureate. ROMI BURIANOVA/Contributed

The Key West city commission on April 11 named Emily Schulten Weekley the 2024 poet laureate of Key West.

Key West has been home to some of the most important poets of the past century, including Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop and Richard Wilbur. American literature has been enriched by poetic descriptions of Key West’s history, environment and culture; and the Key West poet laureate is the official poet of Key West.

Key West poet Nance Boylan created the honor in 2012, and since then, every two years, a new poet laureate for the island city is chosen by an independent board composed of all past poet laureates and Boylan.

Schulten Weekley is a nationally recognized poet and author of three collections of poetry. Her work has been published widely in prominent literary journals.

Her accolades include the 2023 White Pine Press Poetry Prize and the 2023 Geri DiGiorno Prize. She was a finalist for a 2023 Eric Hoffer Award, the recipient of a 2017 Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers Conference, and winner of the 2016 Erskine J. Prize for Poetry.

From left, Commissioners Lissette Carey and Jimmy Weekley honor Key West’s 2024 poet laureate Emily Schulten Weekley, who was joined by her husband Dakin Weekley and their son, Otis. Mayor Teri Johnston and Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman joined in the proclamation and congratulations. (Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Mary Lou Hoover attended via Zoom.) ALYSON CREAN/City of Key West

Schulten Weekley is a professor at the College of the Florida Keys, where she teaches poetry and creative writing. She works with students in an extracurricular capacity on projects like student poetry prizes, literary journals, open mic readings and a creative writing club. She also created and is director of CFK Poetics, a visiting poet series at the college that since 2019 has brought poets of national acclaim to Key West for readings and lectures that are open to the community.

Schulten Weekley 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.

She accepted the proclamation with her husband Dakin Weekley and son Otis.

“I was told by my father-in-law here,” she said, referring to Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, “that I might be in big trouble if I don’t read a poem.”

And so, she treated the audience to a selection from her upcoming collection, “Island of Bones.”