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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

He's a poet. But does Jay know it?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For the second consecutive year, I am throwing my hat into the literary ring as a candidate to be Missouri's next poet laureate. I even consulted a dictionary to assure I knew what a laureate was.

I can't hide my bitter disappointment over Gov. Jay Nixon's snub last year. When Nixon announced a year ago that Missouri was seeking its first poet laureate, I assumed I had a fighting chance. Turns out I was wrong.

The Governor - and a fine Governor he is! - has formed a five-member advisory committee to help him select this prestigious honoree. And within just two weeks, someone in the poetry community will assume the title.

Sure, you have to have qualifications. You have to be a Missouri resident. Check! You must be a published poet. In high school, I was one of only a few million who had a poem published. Check! You must be active in the poetry community. Actually I looked on a Missouri map this morning and failed to find Poetry, Mo., but I'm still looking.

Finally, you must be willing to promote poetry at public appearances. If that means traveling across our proud state, then I'm in. Check!

The new poet laureate is also required to compose an original poem in honor of Missouri.

Well I'm from the Roses are Red, Violets are Blue school of poetry, so the last requirement should be a slam dunk. I'll have to remember to avoid Nantucket. I learned my lesson on that word last year. Boy are some people in state government sensitive!

Please don't misunderstand. I am taking this title seriously. I believe the poetry community - albeit relative small - is deserving its time in the sun.

Here's what I like about poetry. It's a subjective art form. (In fact, all art forms are subjective but why dwell on that.)

Being subjective, there is no right or wrong poetry. What flips my switch may not be of your liking but I don't care. There are no wrong answers on this test.

I suspect that deep down inside, many of us are frustrated poets. Some more frustrating than others. Unfortunately for most of us, our poetry "skills" ended with our formal education. As I have observed, most post-formal education poetry is now confined to the bathroom stalls. But hey, it's still poetry.

I submit the following to whet your appetite from the next poet laureate of Missouri.

Oh great and powerful Governor Jay,

I found the way to make my day.

I rhyme with the best as you can see

So when it's time, just pick me.

I know my resume is lean

But as you know, I'm really keen

So make the choice and then you rest

Just pick me because I'm good

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen