ST. PAUL, Minn. - Could a poem that serves as a tribute to the state of Minnesota be in line for a tribute itself? Judging by the early reaction, it could prove difficult.
A bill that would designate Cordell Keith Haugen's "Minnesota Blue" as the official state poem surfaced Wednesday. It would add the poem to a pantheon of state symbols recognized in law. Hockey is the state sport, the loon is the state bird, the walleye is the state fish, blueberry is the official state muffin flavor. In all, Minnesota has a dozen official symbols.
The poem bill was introduced by Republican Sen. Bruce Anderson of Buffalo. He didn't immediately return a call Wednesday.
The 45-line poem starts and ends with a "Minnesota, how I love you" verse. Here's a link to the entire poem: http://bit.ly/YraXql
Haugen, a singer/songwriter who lives in Hawaii, wrote the poem in 1985 as a fond remembrance of his childhood home. An email seeking his comment on the proposal wasn't immediately returned.
Democratic Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who sponsored a state law a few years back establishing a state poet laureate, said she can't foresee getting behind the move to make an official state poem — particularly this one.
"The poem itself is not a great marvel of poetry," said Kahn, of Minneapolis. "And the idea you have a state poem written by someone from out of state is particularly offensive."
Kahn said she struggles with the idea of singling out one poem because people might have a different take on the ode years from now.