Which of your submissions should be our state poem? [POLL]

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Wikimedia Commons and jodi0327 via Flickr
Our quarter and our flag.
After Sen. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo township) introduced a bill to make Keith Haugen's tepid "Minnesota Blue" the state poem, we asked you to do better.

And you did -- mostly. The submissions we got to our "Write the State Poem" contest included lines like: "birdhouses not from ikea, your grandfather made them/ menisota and womenisota equally," and "As if Portland is Minneapolis" (a poem that ended with, "You just got Ninja Mind Fucked").

Now, we've winnowed down the pool to four (those two didn't make the cut), and it's up to you to vote on which work should represent our 10,000 lakes in the poetry world.

See Also:
- If Minnesota is going to have a state poem, we want it to be yours [CONTEST]
- 50 Reasons Minnesota is the best state in America


Maybe none of them should. Maybe, as St. Paul's poet laureate Carol Connolly suggested in the Star Tribune, the best way to officially represent Minnesota's rich literary talents would be with a daily state poem. But barring that, now's the time to vote on whether any of these made you glad to know this state -- or at least made you laugh. We can't guarantee that the winning poem will wind up enshrined in the secretary of state's office, but we can promise a stack of poetry books to the writer.

Did you miss the deadline, but still have a haiku, sonnet, limerick, or sestina burning in your Minnesota-loving heart? Leave it in the comments below.

Here' are the top four, followed by a poll.

Poem 1: "Walking with the late Paul Gruchow," by Joshua P. Preston

Kind words and best wishes don't bring rain.
Subsidies won't end a drought. His spirit,
like the last boots he'll ever buy, wear
down down down in the dust.

"We never ran from change, but it sure
ran us out," he says. "There'll always be
somewhere to farm but there won't be farmers."
Footsteps scare out a ring-necked pheasant.

I ask what happened to the Farmer-Laborites,
the community, the culture. I've driven more
Interstates than walked desire paths, can
name more skyscrapers than native grasses.

Out on the wind everything I say is carried,
no telling where it'll end up or what marsh
it'll sink in. "I try not to dwell on it," he says,
"or there's bound to be a revolution.


Poem 2: "If Not River," by Weston Cutter

Minnesota I'm your river, I start distant,
in quiet, and I'm unfinished. I ache for scene's
completion, I'll flow till I get there and wonder
what I'll spill, when, where, etc. Minnesota
I rise and subside depending
on season, I swell and deserve
my own Army Corps to come install locks
to help with my overflow. Like water
is all or enough: Minnesota I'm made of 61 Highways
and have you heard how I sound
when my sky fluoresces? Sizzling in dark
and cold, that's what, Minnesota, shivers,
a whispering from the sky like a radio station
that died at sunset yet here we are, still
tuned in. I wonder about you, Minnesota.
I've ridden your hills and kissed your girls
and vice versa, I've let your winters finger me months
at a stretch, I've fallen for icy beauty, I've
gulped considering what lives in and/or through
such chill and I've dived into a lake's hole
to prove something about blood or toughness
or where I believe I belong and what I want
to know is this: Minnesota what if
I'm not river? What if I'm all boat?
Will you still love me Minnesota if I admit
that I, too, round up? That I don't have
ten thousand anything other than questions but I'm happy
to claim otherwise? All this water. All
that gouged fertility. Minnesota you wear
your trampled past well and don't let anyone fool you: it's not
nice, that flinty gaze you cast west to prairie, north
to another country, east to a lake bigger than sin
or the greatest awe but Minnesota neither you nor I
can pretend niceness was all we were ever after.

Click over to page two for the last two poems and the poll.


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6 comments
Brett Andreas Campbell
Brett Andreas Campbell

Does City Pages not like the poem because it sucks or because the bill was introduced by a republican?

Gabriel Douglas Music
Gabriel Douglas Music

How's this: This is for the one who came in the '58 To the northernmost of the 48 mainland states This is for the land of 10,000 lakes For all the great times and just one great lake For the skyscrapers that are headed by one named Foshay To the twinkles and the vikings, and where the wolves play, To the Bunyans and the Diablos, may you chop & burn bright, And let it be known, there's always Replacements insight, So raise your glass, to the lady slipper way, Here's to Minnesota, and where the best ones lay

Gabriel Douglas Music
Gabriel Douglas Music

How's this: This is for the one who came in the '58 To the northernmost of the 48 mainland states This is for the land of 10,000 lakes For all the great times and just one great lake For the skyscrapers that are headed by one named Foshay To the twinkles and the vikings, and where the wolves play, To the Bunyans and the Diablos, may you chop & burn bright, And let it be known, there's always Replacements insight, So raise your glass, to the lady slipper way, Here's to Minnesota, and where the best ones lay

doubleasterisk
doubleasterisk

This is for the one who came in the '58

To the northernmost of the 48 mainland states

This is for the land of 10,000 lakes

For all the great times and just one great lake

For the skyscrapers that are headed by one named Foshay

To the twinkles and the vikings, and where the wolves play,

To the Bunyans and the Diablos, may you chop & burn bright,

And let it be known, there's always Replacements insight,

So raise your glass, 

to the lady slipper way,

Here's to Minnesota, and where the best ones lay

JessicaArmbruster
JessicaArmbruster

@Brett Andreas Campbell Brett, the poem has received criticism, not just from City Pages. Regardless of anyone's political leanings, it's... kind of a cheesy piece of work.

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