According to the Library of Congress, while 42 U.S. states have a poet laureate, only five of them have a state poem. Thanks to proud Tupelo, Mississippi writer and poet Patricia Dorsey, Mississippi could soon be a leader in this category by becoming the sixth.
Dorsey, who was appointed as a Good Will Ambassador for Mississippi in 2015, wrote the poem “Meet My Mississippi” in 2013, inspired by her genuine love for her home state. People who heard or read the poem encouraged her to see what it would take for it to become the official state poem. You can hear Dorsey reading the poem and telling a little of her story in the video below.
That journey began during the 2015 Mississippi Legislative session. The Tourism Committee met and was positive about it, but it never made it out of the committee. This time, Dorsey is more encouraged. She said that Senator Chad McMahan of Guntown, Mississippi will sponsor the bill in the Senate, and Representative Randy Boyd of Fulton, Mississippi will introduce it in the House. It will then go to the Tourism committee. She is encouraged because the committee has contacted her about coming to read the poem during the first couple of weeks of the session, which begins next week on January 3. This is an indication that the committee is expecting to be receiving the bills.
That’s where the public comes in. Dorsey says she needs people to email, write or call of members of the Tourism committee below to express their support for the poem. Once the poem (hopefully) makes it out of committee, both houses of the legislature will have to pass it. But Dorsey feels pretty good about the chances of passage.
“I’ve had a lot of representatives and senators say they like it and will vote on it if it makes it out of committee,” Dorsey said. “We just need to make sure it has the support to get out of the committee.”
Of note: the states that currently have a state poem are: Indiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee
MISSISSIPPI HOUSE TOURISM COMMITTEE
Becki Currie (Chair) email@example.com
Sara Thomas (Vice Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
Lydia Graves Chassaniol email@example.com
Willie Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Bennett email@example.com
Lester Carpenter firstname.lastname@example.org
Dana Criswell email@example.com
Oscar Denton firstname.lastname@example.org
Casey Eure email@example.com
Jeffery Guice firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Haney email@example.com
Ashley Henley firstname.lastname@example.org
Kabir Karriem email@example.com
Steve Massengill firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Middleton email@example.com
Tom Miles firstname.lastname@example.org
Randall Patterson email@example.com
Omeria Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
Sonya Williams-Barnes email@example.com
Patricia Willis firstname.lastname@example.org
MISSISSIPPI SENATE TOURISM COMMITTEE
Lydia Chassaniol (Chair) email@example.com
Sean Tindall (VC) firstname.lastname@example.org
Albert Butler email@example.com
Tommy Gollott firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Harkins email@example.com
Briggs Hobson III firstname.lastname@example.org
John Horhn email@example.com
David Jordan firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Massey email@example.com
Chad McMahan firstname.lastname@example.org
Willie Simmons email@example.com
HottyToddy.com staff report
Sign up to receive Hottytoddy.com morning and evening headline emails HERE!
Follow HottyToddy.com on Facebook (If You Love Oxford and Ole Miss...), Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (@hottytoddynews).