I was surprised to learn today that I, Matt Hagemann, have been named Poet Laureate of Ogle County, Illinois! I was in bed today, in fact, when I received the idea to declare myself, in absence of any local poetry authority or even of any local interest in the poetic arts, the chief poet of this fine, rural county. I vow to faithfully execute the wholly fantastic office of Poet Laureate of Ogle County and will to the best of my abilities carry out the (self-appointed) duties that inhere to this title:
1. I shall bring awareness both of the form and practice of poetry, and of the passing delicacy of a flower’s whisper, to the young people of Ogle County;
2. I shall pen Odes to the cities of Byron, Oregon, Polo, and Rochelle; the villages of Adeline, Creston, Davis Junction, Forreston, Hillcrest, Leaf River, Monroe Center, Mount Morris, and Stillman Valley; the townships of Brookville, Buffalo, Byron, Dement, Eagle Point, Flagg, Forreston, Grand Detour, LaFayette, Leaf River, Lincoln, Lynnville, Marion, Maryland, Monroe, Mt. Morris, Oregon-Nashua, Pine Creek, Pine Rock, Rockvale, Scott, Taylor, White Rock, and Woosung; and the unincorporated communities of Baileyville, Brookville, Buffalo Grove, Chana, Daysville, Egan, Flagg, Flagg Center, Grand Detour, Haldane, Harper, Hazelhurst, Holcomb, Kings, Lindenwood, Lost Nation, Paynes Point, Stratford, White Rock, and Woosung;
3. I shall gaze like a tourist at and wax vaporously upon Rock River, Pine Rock, Castle Rock, and Rocky Hollow Road;
4. I shall visit the state parks and local dragways, the historical blacksmitheries and the modern uraniumfissioneries, the sites of thwarted attempts to harass native inhabitants and of art honoring those natives long after they were removed from Ogle County;
5. I shall versify homages to those who left Ogle County to make something of themselves;
6. I shall bear witness to the trials and travails of the53, 497 souls (as of the 2010 Census) of Ogle County, including their 95.35% whiteness, their median household income of $45,448, and their 17.0% adult college-degree completion rate;
But mostly I will be doing those things in obscurity, for if there’s anything that Ogle County is known for, it’s its obscurity. However, I will do my best to publicize the office of Ogle County Poet Laureate among a population not giving a sh!t.