The Poet Laureate of Iowa read his work to members of the Iowa Legislature today (Tuesday). Seventy-six-year-old Robert Dana was appointed Iowa Poet Laureate in 2004. “It’s a distinct honor to be standing here and asked to read a poem to this august body,” Dana said. “I’ve chosen one of my earliest poems about the Midwest. The Midwest claimed me long ago, but it took me a long time to claim it.” Dana is a Boston native who served 40 years as the poet-in-residence at Cornell College in Mount Vernon.

Today, Dana read his poem entitled “A Short History of the Middle West.” The poem starts like this: Under this corn, these beans, these acres of tamed grasses, the prairie still rolls. If you’d like to hear the entire poem, go on-line to Dana has published 14 books of poetry. He was also, briefly, a sports reporter for the Des Moines Register in the early 1950s.