Key West’s Life of Letters

Susan P. Mesker, 1936-2012

We mourn the loss of Susan P. Mesker, an ardent supporter of the Key West Literary Seminar and other cultural nonprofits, who touched the lives of many. She died on Friday, June 8, at her William Street home. She was 75. Susan was a longtime member of the board of …Read More

James Merrill on Elizabeth Bishop – Archives

A rare audio recording of the poet James Merrill makes available his bewitching reading in tribute to Elizabeth Bishop at the 1993 Key West Literary Seminar.

C. Whitehead’s Zombie Novel Takes Streets

Zone One, the highly anticipated fifth novel from MacArthur Fellow Colson Whitehead, hit the shelves and electronic delivery channels yesterday. It deals with the living dead in the city that never sleeps. Here’s what people are saying: “The best book of the fall…Zone One formulates an essential equation: the measure …Read More

Wendy Wasserstein in Key West

Julie Salamon’s extraordinary new book, Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein, includes a moving account of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s visit to Key West for the 2005 Seminar. Wasserstein was already showing signs of the illness which would end her life less than a year …Read More

US Navy Fleet Sonar School for Poets

In an earlier post, we revealed that fellow poets James Schuyler and Elizabeth Bishop were joined in service for their country on the Key West Navy base in the summer of 1943. Schuyler, 19, was enrolled in Sonar School; Bishop, 32, volunteered in the optical shop until the chemicals made …Read More

Immortal Bird / Delinquent Library Patron

Another paper treasure from the Key West library: the last library card of great American playwright Tennessee Williams; paired with the “urgent request” to return an overdue biography of John Keats, whose “Ode to a Nightingale,” includes the line “Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!” Tennessee, nicknamed “Bird” …Read More

Gopnik, Mones join revamped Audio Archive

After completing a quiet-but-thorough redesign of our online audio archive, we’re pleased to let you know about the addition of two new recordings. Adam Gopnik’s “The Rituals of Taste” preserves his keynote address from the 2011 Seminar, “The Hungry Muse.” This tour-de-force lecture examines two ideas of taste: one, the …Read More

Uncovered: Hemingway, Williams, Frost pics

We’ve just come across a remarkable set of photographs. Donated by the Campbell, Poirier, and Pound families to the Monroe County Public Library, the Heritage House Collection contains more than 400 images of Key West from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Of greatest interest to us is a handful of …Read More