Date in History:
1980 – Edmund Skellings was named the Poet Laureate of Florida, a lifetime appointment, by Governor Bob Graham on this date. Originally from Ludlow Massachusetts, Skellings studied English at UM Amherst, than pursued graduate studies at the University of Iowa. Even early in his career, Skellings was a proponent of young people learning to write well and study poetry. He began teaching at Florida Atlantic University in 1967 and began experimenting with early audio amplification, combining this new technology with his poems. In 1973 Skellings became the Director of the International Institute of Creative Communication at Florida International University, and later came back to FAU to become the Director of the Florida Center for Electronic Communication in 1990. He is best known for his groundbreaking integrating electronic, computer and television elements into his live poetry performances. His collected works were published by the University Press of Florida in 1998. Skellings left the Poet Laureate of Florida chair empty after his death in 2012.