The Legacy of Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg may be one of our most influential poets in American history, he knew the American working man and his necessities. Sandburg used his poetry to explicate to the economy how life is, can, and could be. Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois January 6, 1878 to Swedish immigrant parents with the names of August and Clara Johnson. His family was extremely poor. Carl left school at the age of thirteen to work odd jobs from bricklaying to dish washing to earn money to support the family. At seventeen, he left home to travel to Kansas as a hobo, there he turned to the army for help. He served eight months in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American war.
After the war, Carl attended Lombard College in his hometown. There he was recognized by what may have been the most important person in Sandburg’s life. He met Professor Philip Green Wright.
Proffessor Wright paid for the publication of Carl Sandburg’s first volume of poetry, a small pamphlet called Reckless Ecstasy in 1904.
Carl Sandburg was not known to the literary world until the age of thirty-six. In 1914, he won a prize for a group of poems including the now famous "Chicago". Two years later, he published the volume "Chicago Poems", and with five more volumes of his poetry, "Corn Huskers", "Smoke and Steel", "Slabs of the Sunburnt West", "Good Morning America", and "The People Yes" were gathered together in "Complete Poems", and were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1951. Sandburg is also the author of the children’s classic "Rootabaga Stories", a collection of folk songs, "The American Songbag", a novel called Remembrance Rock, an autobiography named Always the Young Strangers , and a six volume biography of Abraham Lincoln the last four volumes of which received the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1940.
Carl Sandburg’s technique used in all of his work is free verse celebrating industrial and agricultural era in America. He uses long free-flowing lines which follow a simple straight forward text. His use of free verse reflects on how he feels about the common people and their surroundings at the turning point of the era. Arch...
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...e of himself to help the others cope with the pressure that has been applied by the thumb of America.
"Chicago" is the typical use of Carl Sandburg’s Free Verse. This is because of the simple use of words and punctuation. It allows for any person to read and comprehend what he must say. It is shown in the poem "The Grass" he illustrates how grass is like war, it is everywhere and no matter where it is it doen’t change it will still be war. The tone of "The Grass" is written in Free Verse. It not only allows you to apply the the entirity of war but allows you to observe that no matter where it is it is the same. This poem also shows part of Sandburg’s life. As he worked as a teen he did it for the sole purpose of providing for his family. No matter where he worked it was still for the same reason to provide.
Carl Sandburg was probably one of the most influential characters of his time and of ours today. He is a very down to earth person who understands the needs and wants of the American working man. If not for Carl Sandburg many people may have been left with an empty mind and an empty heart.
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