‘It’s American Regionalist artist Grant Wood‘s birthday today and it’s being celebrated over on Echostains! American Gothic is one of the most iconic painting in the USA. Much has been written about this painting, but in some ways it remains an enigma. To read about the artist Grant Wood please see my corresponding post on echostains
Wood got the idea for the painting American Gothic from a cottage he saw which had been built in the Gothic revival style. The cottage can be seen in the background with its gothic upper window. Wood tried to imagine the sort of people who would live in such a house. He decided upon this rather stern and prim looking couple (modelled upon his own sister and his dentist). The man holds a pitchfork and stand besides his spinster sister – though some see these two as man and wife. if you look closely, the pitchfork shape is echoed in the farmers overall, the shape of the window behind him and even the shape of the mans face.. The pitchfork represents hard work. Nan (Wood’s sister) is the model for the farmers spinster sister. She is dressed in a Colonial print apron which mimic 19th century Americana. American Gothic has been parodied a great deal, but I thought it would be challenging (and fun) to write a poem about this picture. The poem can be long, short, a Haiku or even a limerick. How do you see this couple? kind? threatening? secretive? Make the poem as serious or humorous as you like. You may use my American Button if you want to 🙂
Usual rules apply;
The idea behind the challenges is to publicise Bookstains – as well as having creative fun, so it is imperative that the poet link to Bookstains to further the challenge so you MUST have a URL.. BUT, echostains is about communication – so this is a two-way street:
In return for your poem (which is always accredited to you) your poem is copied to the challenges particular page which is open indefinitely and the poets own website mentioned with a link and the poem critiqued on not only Bookstains but also on the poets own blog or website. I shall give your poem a Tweet on Twitter to further promote it. I also update my Echostains blog frequently, regardless on what the post is about – I mention if there is a new poem in the challenge.
Please note – and I only mention because I have had some of these….. If you wouldn’t put the poem on your own blog, please don’t send it to mine and expect me to promote it. This is a genuine challenge – so please play fair 😀
Images from here here and here
Here’s a humorous one from Pamanner’s Blog by WordyWoman! Her blog is about poetry, relationships, life, nature, and whatever else procreates on her computer screen. Worth checking out 🙂
forget Mary and
your four kids
keep staring at her
perky milk jugs I
swear I’ll find a
new use for that
©Pamela A. Rossow
Well I stared and I stared at this painting for inspiration, and I looked into the couples faces hoping that they would tell me their own story. I had a bit of a job getting them to spill the beans but don’t let those closed faces fool you – there’s a lot going on behind those net curtains:-
On your way stranger!
There aint nothing for you here.
You’re only courting danger,
I’m king of this frontier!
You’re talking to the fork!
And it won’t hear no blaspheming!
You’d better start to walk
(My sister – stop that screaming!)
Compose yourself my dear!
We just don’t want no trouble.
Supplies will last all year
And we got more than double.
Remember when the law came by
Twas I that they did question.
Then you produced that hot meat pie
That gave em indigestion.
I aint seen no missing folk!
I told em loud and clear.
Yet still they all would prod and poke
Which filled me full of fear.
Stranger why you standing there?
Be gone into the rain.
And while you ride, just say a prayer
That you don’t pass this way again.
©Lynda M Roberts 2011
This contribution is from Adam Dustus who has the most wonderful poetry blog, full of challenges and delights! Well worth checking our here AND with the added bonus of actually hearing the poems read by the author!
Approximately 650 miles from Winesburg, Ohio
Much nearer sticks to hospitable care
When boring wood lampooned beliefs
You may feel free
Bury me there
Ulysses & Grant would go home again
Iowa forgiving prodigal pride
Blond Emily Dickinson stares into oblivion
Poseidon’s prop gripped by father time
Behind them lies someone’s home
Spring arresting American plum
Sprouting hawthorn of unmentionable kinds
Reckoning they did die here too
©Adam Dustus 2011
Our next unique poem is from poet and writer Jenne Rodey Andrews who has several blogs here and they are all well worth checking out too especially if you love poetry!
like laugh lines
Then losing it all at once!
It may be an American Lifestyle
To Me, it’s a Gothic trance.
To dig my own grave..
It may appeal to you as American,
But I live in a Gothic cave!
when it is for the better
She: What use is this quiet
if it becomes another fetterHe: Our boring lives will now
take on a brand new color
She: If blue turns to grey,
things can only get duller
He: Wind plays many tricks
on creaky wooden stairways
She: There’s more than just wind
in the deceptive empty hallways
He: For my safety, I have
a pitchfork turned candle holder
She: But it’s always safe
to look behind your shoulder
He: It is now all ours;
this giant old house
She: But here’s known to live
the ghost of a vicious mouse
46 thoughts on “Poetry Challenge ‘American Gothic’”
OH I so wish you had NOT identified the man and woman–the “sister”–the very word–well, hmm–and a “dentist”–oh my! Sexual frustration abounds! LOL. OOO the possibilities, Lynda.
Hhehe! Now THAT would make a VERY interesting poem 47whitebuffalo! Are you up for it? The last one you did for the Hepworth Echo was a great one 🙂
Hi Lynda. here’s a haiku for your challenge.
Great stuff Jessica! I thought those stern faces might frightening people 😀
“Progress bypasses” – it seems to have bypassed these two! Good Haiku that sums that shut out feeling that the painting gives!
Still working on mine (which is proving harder than I thought)
Thanks for joining in with this challenge Jessica 🙂
Hi! I was introduced to your site by Jessica! Thanks Jessica!
Here’s mine 🙂
Thanks Pamanner! Who’d have believed it! The things they really got up to on that farm 😀
Thanks for joining in the fun – it’s appreciated!
I can’t wait to get involved on the next challenge, great idea.
I hope you do Joseph! All the challenges are on the right hand side of the page – and they are all open indefinitely 🙂
I am new to wordpress as of a couple days ago, if you can give me advice to make my blog better, let me know.
Be original, post regularly and comment on blogs you like – hopefully they will answer back. Be patient, it takes time to get visitors. if you keep posting – they will come. Good Luck!
Love your poem, Lynda! Sums up the that man’s look perfectly.
Thanks Jessica 🙂 Amazing what these two get up to isn’t it….. 😀
Aw thanks Val! xxx
Should the ping not reach you, I’ve done it! Come’n’look!
I hope you’ll join in Val 🙂 Many thanks!
Can’t say I know how this works, do I post the link here or do you, or what? Anyway – here’s the poem if you like it.
Thats right Val, glad you joined in – it’s great fun isnt it 😀 Wilbur and Orson lol what great names! I LOVE the ending to this! Poor old Grant Wood – what a reward for all his hard work 😀 Great poem Val – Thanks!
Ha! American Gothic for a challenge… I’m in. Will post up soon. Cheers
I’ll look foward to that Adam 🙂
I seem to have started a murder theme off with my mention of that hot meat pie which gave those law officers such indigestion 😀
Hahaha …I imagine Roseanne Barr’s famous Iowian “loose meat sandwiches” would produce a similar effect.
Great poem Adam! I love the reference to Ulysses returning home too and the earth (land) 🙂 Poor Grant Wood – he doesn’t seem very popular with Americans does he 😀
An interesting piece whose words seem to have hidden meanings 🙂 Thanks for joining in Adam – it’s always appreciated!
This is most interesting, Lynda!! Can’t wait to write for this one…. will post one soooon, and link back too!!!
Thanks for these superb challenges, my friend!!
And for now, I am going to pretend I didn’t read the background you gave us on this picture, and write! teeheehee 😉
Great Kavita! All my challenges are open indefintely 🙂 Give it your best shot – I KNOW it will be good 🙂 and appreciated by all including me!
American-Gothic inspired poem finally posted!! Yaaaayyy!!! I am soo glad I did this one!! Cuz it was real fun 🙂
I have linked back to the challenge from my blog…
And THIS is the link to my poem.. 🙂
Thanks for these superb challenges, Lynda…
No, Thank YOU Kavita and the other poets for rising to the challenge and sending these great poems 🙂
Thanks a ton for accepting and putting up my poem here, Lynda… this is so exciting!! 😀
Welcome – always 🙂
o.k., hear we go again, echo….xxxj http://parolavivace.blogspot.com
Great stuff Jenne! Favorite lines include;-
“And she, Naomi, or Mary+
had babies via
A pop of the tractor’s exhaust pipe
an infant in a christening dress…”
I feel I’m really getting to see what Wood saw when he wrote this poem – the kind of people involved 😀 Thanks for joining in – it’s valued!
Here’s what I did with this painting!
Thank you for posting this challenge here. Discovered pretty late- but now that I have (through my beautiful friends), I’ll keep coming back for more.. 🙂
Good that I didn’t read the background till now or else it would have lingered upon. I am barely able to stop myself from loving the house. I see a detailed image posted too. Wish I lived there- I would have handled the Gothic Oldie anyways.. 😀
You’ve certainly given the painting a highly original take Olivia! No wonder those people look as they do 🙂 I love that house too – beautiful, you can see its their pride, but not much joy has been had trying to hang onto it 😦 I like the Gothic trance line – good touch Olivia! Thanks for joining in – much appreciated!
Thank you so much Lynda!
I am glad you liked it- I wanted to stick to the very painting instead of weaving a story around.
It is completely my pleasure to link in- will always do.. 😀
Thank you for posting me here!!! Much honored.. 🙂
You’re welcome Olivia! All the poetry challenges are open indefinitely is you want to join in 🙂
My eyes fell out when I came across this! I wrote a poem with this in mind and have wondered how it would work! Anyhow, here it is;
Nice poem Kolembo! Please link to my Bookstains Poetry challenge then I can add it here 🙂
This is great Kavita! There’s so many great lines in this poem;-
“He: Wind plays many tricks
on creaky wooden stairways
She: There’s more than just wind
in the deceptive empty hallways”……I’ll never look at that couple the same way again 🙂
Thanks for posting this – appreciated 🙂
Ok, i’ve done this one.
I cant do them on arts web show unless i do them in video format and these videos are really proving difficult to turn out fast enough but i have put it up on witty snippets.
Here’s the link.
The post is scheduled for 12 ‘o’ clock 6/3 rd
Hheh there is an old saying about not frowning and pulling faces because if the wind changes your face will stay like that! Looks like it wasn’t an old wives tale after all – judging by these two 😀 Thanks for joining in – appreciated 🙂