Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grim and Gram

When the boys were growing up, we all became fans of Rodman Philbrick's novel Freak the Mighty and the sequel Max the Mighty. We also enjoyed watching the film (based on the first book) The Mighty. It was a great family movie to watch whenever Gerry's parents were visiting from England, and we gradually came to call them by the same nicknames used by Max for his grandparents in the book: Grim & Gram.

In the pictures below, I was photographing our Grim and Gram, along with some gardening tools that they had been given on their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Inspired by that stark English sky, I suddenly had the idea to pose them along the lines of Grant Wood's American Gothic painting, and then juxtapose their photograph with the original.

Ron might have been having a little bit too much fun,
but Rosanne really caught the spirit!

British / American Gothic

The original painting is also the inspiration behind a number of American poems, including the following by one of my favorite poets, William Stafford (click for a reading):

American Gothic
If we see better through tiny,
grim glasses, we like to wear
tiny, grim glasses.
Our parents willed us this
view. It's tundra? We love it.

We travel our kind of
Renaissance: barnfuls of hay,
whole voyages of corn, and
a book that flickers its
halo in the parlor.

Poverty plus confidence equals
pioneers. We never doubted.

by William Stafford, 1914 - 1993
in The Way It Is, 1999

for more
"American / British / Indiana Gothic"

You might also enjoy my previous posts
on the poetry of William Stafford:

9 January 2010
26 February 2010
11 June 2010
18 November 2010

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