Ott, poem both worthy of official state recognition

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006

While no one seems to have a problem with Paul Ott, some OleMiss professors, students and others do have a problem with his “IAm Mississippi” becoming the state’s official poem.

Critics of the poem contend it has “no literary merit” and haveconcerns about its being perceived as “the best poem this state canoffer.” Pardon us, but we don’t think the intention of thelegislation – now awaiting action by the state Senate – was to holdup Ott’s poem as “the best” thing ever written about the state.

We’re neither literary experts nor music experts, but we’repretty sure “Go, Mississippi” is not the best song ever writtenabout the Magnolia State. Beyond elementary school music classes,we don’t hear too many people breaking into a chorus of theofficial state song.

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Ott, from neighboring Pike County, serves as a goodwillambassador for the state wherever he goes. And his “Listen to theEagle” is a popular radio program across Mississippi and insurrounding states.

Perhaps “I Am Mississippi” leaves something to be desired from ascholarly standpoint, but there is no denying Ott’s love for God,state and country.

Having Ott’s poem added to the list of official state symbols isas much about saluting the man as it is recognizing his work. Bothare worthy of the honor.