Malibu Poet Laureate

Malibu Poet Laureate Nathan Hassall was appointed by the City Council on August 28, 2023, to serve as the 2023 - 2025 Poet Laureate.

Nathan first came to Malibu six years ago and promptly joined the Malibu Writer's Circle to hone his craft as a prose writer. Equipped with a refined sense of narrative, he has since taken a proactive role in the promotion of poetry in the community, engaging in initiatives like teaching in local schools such as Malibu Elementary, Webster Elementary, and Malibu High. 

Nathan has attended numerous Malibu events, like Caffeinated Verse, and been a featured reader at Jubilations where he recited poems inspired by a transformational experience at a "Finding Your Voice" singing workshop in Esalen, Big Sur, CA.

During his term as Poet Laureate, Nathan seeks to expand the number of people in the city partaking in the ancient art of poetry, while also helping to inspire those who are already active in the community. He holds a strong belief in poetry’s potential to transform consciousness, heal the mind, and open the gates of dialogue to difficult and often buried subjects. He plans to run workshops that encourage writing poetry as a vessel for increased well-being, inner knowing, and emotional and spiritual growth.

Nathan has a Master's in Creative Writing, with a focus in Poetry, from the University of Kent, UK, and has published numerous poems, interviews, and reviews in various magazines. His chapbook of experimental haiku—dregsongs from blab cartilage—recently featured on the Haiku Foundation's "Book of the Week" was published in 2018 by Bones: A Journal of Haiku. He has poems published in many different magazines, including "Last Days Before the Wake," a poem published by Inflectionist Review, whose editors nominated it for a Pushcart Prize.

Nathan works as a freelance book editor, helping authors bring their books to excellence in various genres, including poetry, psychology, self-help, and memoir. He is also the co-founder of The Burnal Co., an emotional well-being organization.

Questions related to the Poet Laureate program or arts programming may be directed to Amanda Rigali, Recreation Coordinator. 

Past Poet Laureates

  • Ann Buxie September 2021 - August 2023
  • Dr. John Struloeff October 12, 2019 - June 1, 2021
  • Ellen Reich March 28, 2019 - April 1, 2020
  • Ricardo Means Ybarra March 28, 2017 – March 27, 2019
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Verse About Town

Local poets are encouraged to submit their work to be featured in the Malibu Poet Laureate Committee's program, Verse About Town. Poetry is displayed monthly at City Parks. Visit the program webpage for additional details and submit poems through the City's online form center.

Poetry Stones at Legacy Park

In 2018, the Cultural Arts Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission approved the placement of two poetry stones at Legacy Park. The stones were placed in honor of the City’s first Poet Laureate, Ricardo Means Ybarra, and recognized the importance of poetry and literary arts to Malibu. Mr. Ybarra was recognized as the first Poet Laureate with a stone that contains a portion of his poem, America. The second stone included the poem, Thank You, by Mandy Mulligan, a graduate of Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, part of the City’s Arts in Education program. The stone installation of the City’s second Poet Laureate Ellen Reich, took place on October 8, 2020.  Her black Belgian stone is an appropriate fit for the native park and includes her poem, Interruption of Bird.

All of the poetry stones are located at Legacy Park. Mrs. Reich’s poetry stone is placed opposite of Mr. Ybarra’s, near the amphitheater overlooking the water, which was selected due to its purpose as a place for creativity and location for cultural events. Ms. Mulligan’s stone is placed in the amphitheater containing multiple mosaic animal sculptures.