Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost's Ability to Connect with Poetry Readers

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When you think of poetry what comes to mind? Do you think of the abstract thoughts of Emily Dickinson, the intense illusions of T.S. Elliot, or the vengeful stories of Sylvia Plath? Most people do think of poetry’s complexities and think that it does not relate to them because they cannot understand the meanings of the poetry. On the other side of things, there are poets who write goofy rhymes to make people laugh such as Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. While it is easy to understand these goofy poems, they do not really relate to real-life. Then there are poets like Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost, who really know how to capture the essence of life. When poets do this, readers can easily relate to what the poets are talking about. They have made a connection with the reader about something the reader can understand. In particular, Frost and Sandburg’s “Out, Out –“and “Chicago,” respectively, are poems that offer a connection to readers because they focus on the everyday or “working class” side of life. Frost and Sandburg use their “blue collar” connection along with diction and imagery to create poetry that will be adored for many years to come.

“Chicago,” published in 1914, describes early twentieth century Chicago as “Hog Butcher,” the “Tool Maker,” the “Stacker of Wheat,” the “Player with Railroads,” and the “Nation’s Freight Handler” (Sandburg 1437). The diction used can only poise one’s imagination to think of the laboring, gruesome meatpacking town that was Chicago in the early twentieth century. We get a great image of what the town is like and how the people are the hard working kind. Sandburg goes on to emphasize the harshness of the city but he embraces the people who live there. He writes, “Come and show...

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...uational irony to bring the reader into their poems. Without this connection, we would be lost in the land of Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath where their works do have an audience that can connect, but it is not as “blue collar” as the works of Robert Frost or Carl Sandburg. When reading poetry, look for the different allusions and imagery that the authors use because it is there to help you see what they have drawn out for you. Carl Sandburg described a realistic city, where the people overcame their vices to create a vibrant place unified through pride and love of life. Robert Frost described a situation where a boy simply wanted to help but actually made things worse. We can understand these real-life circumstances without having been there. Therefore, the next time you are reading some poetry stop and take a minute to think about what you can relate to.
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