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Writer awaits word on whether 'Minnesota Blue' will become state poem


A Minnesota native is hoping to get word this week on whether the state Legislature will declare prose he wrote nearly 30 years as Minnesota's new state poem, The Associated Press reports.

Cordell Keith Haugen, a 72-year-old songwriter, performer and Hawaii resident who was born in the Northwestern Minnesota town of Greenbush, wrote "Minnesota Blue" in 1985. He says he only recently learned that a bill had been introduced by state Rep. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo) to honor his words as the state poem.

According to The AP, friends of his from Minnesota have been promoting the poem on his behalf. In the 1980s, Haugen reportedly sent copies of the poem to every state legislator, the governor and other state leaders. About a decade ago, "Minnesota Blue" was posted on the state's website with a disclaimer that it wasn't an official state symbol.

Haugen told The AP in an email that the poem "expresses the feelings of millions of us who were born in Minnesota, and like me, have moved away." He adds that such people "still have fond memories and much love for the state of our birth."

After serving in the Army, Haugen reportedly lived in Japan before moving back to the U.S. to attend college in Idaho. He eventually settled in Hawaii and began a career in journalism, as well as a second gig as a songwriter and performer at a hotel.

Haugen has at least one detractor in his pursuit since he's lived outside of Minnesota so long. Rep. Phyllis Kahn (D-Minneapolis), said it might be offensive to some people to give the honor to somehow who has spent most of his life outside of the state, The AP reports.

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