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Friday, March 25, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Gutzon Borglum!

Who? Gutzon Borglum! He would have been 149 years old today! The name may not be familiar, but I bet you could name his greatest achievement if I said to you, "What comes to mind when I say 'four presidents in stone?'" You'd probably say, "Mt. Rushmore." Borglum carved the four granite faces!

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Borglum began carving Mt. Rushmore in 1927 and his work on the project ended with his death in 1941. Borglum's son, Lincoln, saw to the completion of the project that year. The monument was never finished in the form Borglum had originally envisioned--all four presidents portrayed in period dress from head to waist.

Not surprisingly, I found a poem about Mt. Rushmore--poets do write about everything, after all. The poet is William Ford and the poem is titled, "At Mt. Rushmore."

About this official American monument
Many would agree with the sculptor's wife,
Who found in her husband's great labor
"The emotional value of sheer volume."

Be sure to read the rest here. I found it to be unexpectedly powerful.

To learn more about Mt. Rushmore, look for the DVD, Modern Marvels: Architectural Wonders [DVD 720 ARC]. One of the eight disks is devoted to Rushmore.

Heidi is hosting the spring's first Round-Up at My Juicy Little Universe.

10 comments:

  1. Fascinating. I never thought about who made the monument, but it is an astonishing achievement for one person (with help from his son). What did he die of, I wonder? Just thinking about him working up until his death. The poem was interesting and certainly inspires re-reading.

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    1. Wikipedia says he died "following complications after surgery." He also spent a lot of time traveling in an attempt to raise funds for the project. He was probably worn out.

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  2. We visited Mt. Rushmore a few years ago, and also nearby Crazy Horse Memorial, which is an amazing work in progress, completely funded by donations and has inspired a number of my poems. The sculptor's family still works tirelessly to raise the money to complete the sculpture. (Every time I see something on Mt. Rushmore, I think, oh, but CRAZY HORSE. That's the place.) xo

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    1. I've never been west of PA, but I would love to visit the monuments one day.

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  3. I knew of Borglum, and this poem is so interesting, the way it travels to DC and then doesn't return to Mt Rushmore, and I enjoyed his wife's voice at the start. How did you come to find that it's his birthday?

    And yes, I did get your email about a match-up--looking forward to scheduling it, Diane!

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    1. On occasion, when I can't think of a subject to write about, I check Chase's Annual Events. That's where I found Borglum's birthday. (I think the book now goes by the title, Chase's Calendar of Events.

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  4. A mammoth achievement. I remember the native Americans not being nearly as happy about his achievement, though.

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    1. You're probably right, Brenda.

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  5. Mind boggling to think that, until his death, it was a one-man project. I've never seen them in real life, but the enormity of them is quite overwhelming when you consider carving them in situ. And yet so realistic!

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  6. Yep. Poets write about everything! Thanks for this fun and informative post. One day I want to see those stone faces.

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