I have known relatives in Minnesota, so I'm sure they're aware that the venerable Robert Bly is the Poet Laureate of that state. His holding such an established governmental post might have been unthinkable in the 1960s and 1970s, partly because he wrote, read, published, and spoke so fiercely and constantly against war.
But now the decision to give him the honor seems perfect--but not without a hitch, it seems. Apparently Governor Tim Pawlenty (whose last name seems like a lovely three-syllable way of saying "plenty") vetoed, not the appointment of Bly itself, but the position of Poet Laureate, which the legislature had re-established. Pawlenty was quoted as opining,
"Even though we have a state 'folklorist,' I also have concern this will lead to calls for other similar positions. We could also see requests for a state mime, interpretive dancer or potter."
Apparently the governor intended this argument to be one opposed to the Poet Laureate position, but it is more easily interpreted as an argument in favor. How splendid to have a state mime, a state dancer, and a state potter! These are the sorts of positions that would improve one's view of government. And how amusing to see journalists attempting to interview the state mime!
Anyway, the governor relented, or had his veto over-ridden or rode hard and put away wet, or something.
The first Poet Laureate of Minnesota was Margarette Ball Dickson, I have learned.
How many votes does it take to get elected governor of Minnesota? Puh-lenty!