The winner of our state poem contest is...

Here's how the vote broke down.
When a state Senator introduced a bill mid-February to designate "Minnesota Blue," by Keith Haugen, the official state poem, we challenged you to write a few lines better than "Do wolves still howl at your full moon / Is Viking Land still Mother Nature's dream."

You did. We narrowed the submissions down to four, and then put the finalists up to a vote.

Nearly 200 readers weighed in, and now, we're ready to crown Minnesota's new state poem (City Pages edition).

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Coffee House Press fields two of the five finalists for prestigious PEN/Faulkner fiction prize

courtesy Coffee House Press
These two Coffee House Press titles are up for the award.
Earlier this week, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced that, after reviewing more than 350 works, three writer-judges had selected five finalists for the foundation's prestigious fiction prize. Two of those five picks claim local Coffee House Press as their publisher.

"To have even one finalist for the PEN/Faulkner is a remarkable achievement," Coffee House's publisher, Chris Fischbach, wrote us in an email from the AWP conference in Boston. "To have two on the list is something else altogether."

See Also:
- Top 15 books set in Minnesota
- Spotlight on Coffee House Press: Ed Bok Lee and Bao Phi
- Minnesota ranks 8th in the country for 2013 NEA grants


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How We Met: Vote on readers' love stories [POLL]

For our special Valentine's Day issue of City Pages, we showcased a bunch of extraordinary Minnesota couples who touched our hearts with stories of how they met. But we knew there were tons of couples out there who had stories just as romantic and funky as the ones we highlighted.

We asked readers to tell us how they met, and they delivered. From a hilarious late-night Goldilocks situation to rogue snowballs, these couples have gotten past funny, awkward, and weird meet-cutes to show that sometimes true love does conquer all.

We chose the best submissions, and now it's your turn to tell us who's got the ultimate romantic tale for the chance to win a date package.

See also:
How They Met: Twin Cities couples on the moment they found love
How They Met: Awesome outtakes from adorable couples [Slideshow]

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

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

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If Minnesota is going to have a state poem, we want it to be yours [CONTEST]

Wikimedia Commons and jodi0327 via Flickr
Our quarter and our flag.
Senator Bruce Anderson, a conservative Republican from Buffalo Township, introduced a bill in the Minnesota Senate this morning to officially designate a state poem, the AP reports.

We already have a state... everything, from a drink to a mushroom (milk and morels, of course). A poem would round out the mix nicely.

But here's the thing. Anderson's pick is the 1985 poem "Minnesota Blue," by Keith Haugen. For starters, that title brings to mind a cop show. It goes downhill from there.

See Also:
- Minnesota Book Awards Poetry Finalists
- Macalester students take top honors with slam poetry team [VIDEO]

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Choose your own adventure with Paper Darts at the MIA

Paper Darts MIA Party.jpg
This evening Paper Darts, a literary arts magazine and independent publishing press, will be shaking things up at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. PD's literary manager Courtney Algeo says this will be the largest lit focused event the museum has ever done. For the party, Jennifer Davis will offer a live art making project where guests can participate in the process, and visual artist Allen Brewer, who has an MAEP show coming up, will have guests write out descriptions of works of art that he will then use to make his own piece. There will also be an interactive activity where revelers will be invited to choose their own adventure based on the writings of four authors: Ed Bok Lee, John Jodzio, Maggie Ryan Sandford, and Katie Heaney. Theater of Public Policy will be on hand with storytelling, performing in the museum's historic elevator. The evening will conclude with music by hip-hop group Kill the Vultures.  More »

Short-Shorts take the stage at the Loft's first flash fiction marathon

Image by dbbent
Tonight, join all the cool lit kids at the Loft Literary Center for its first-ever Short-Short Salon. The event centers on Marge Barrett's Short-Shorts Contest. Barrett, who also teaches flash fiction at the space, has previously hosted the contest via MinnPost.

Years ago, submissions were originally limited to 800-words maximum. Over the years, however,  this number has been whittled down, and it's currently set at a slim-and-trim 100-word limit. The winning entries from four past contests will be read at this evening's Salon, in addition to this year's top piece.

When searching for the best submissions, Barrett keeps an eye out for pieces that "bring us into the world of the writer instantly. They hit a nerve, a universal theme; we love or hate, laugh or cry with them."

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Dressing Room's 10 most-read posts of 2012

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This sexy honey badger Halloween costume was featured in one of our top posts
As 2012 has drawn to a close, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the Dressing Room's most-popular posts this year. Epic lists, random celebrity sightings, and Minnesota in the news are some of the posts that made the grade this year.

Who knows what the new year will bring, but we have high hopes for 2013.

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Salon Saloon gets heavy for its December double-header

Paul D. by Sean Smuda .jpg
Photo by Sean Smuda
Paul D. Dickinson 
This Friday, Salon Saloon is serving up a double-dose of witty entertainment for its December installment. The evening will feature the Heavy 100, a year-end review exploring 2012's highlights on topics ranging from familiar to obscure. The event is split into two shows, one early and one late, so audiences can catch all the guests by seeing both programs, or just take in half of the festivities.

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'Pilot Car' features a new way to experience poetry

Carolyn Lee Anderson.jpg
Jessica Heart Above Minneapolis, 2011 by Carolyn Lee Anderson
Traditionally, there are two ways to experience a poem. You can either read poetry, usually in a book or literary journal, or you can go to a reading and hear it spoken out loud. "Pilot Car," a new exhibit at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, offers a new way to interact with a poem.

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