Carl Sandburg was Pulitzer Prize winning poet, biographer to Abraham Lincoln, novelist, journalist, children’s author, and collector of American folk songs. He grew up in the fields of Illinois, traveled from Kansas to Puerto Rico, campaigned for the socialist party, and was an avid Chicago advocate. Two sources had this to say about Sandburg’s poetry: “Carl Sandburg’s poetry expresses the hearty, earthy nature of America, finding both soft and harsh beauty amongst her people (1).” “He uses precise and vivid images to portray the energy and brutality of American urban industrial life (5).” Carl Sandburg is a poet whose life is worth remembering.
Sandburg’s parents, August and Clara Johnson, immigrated to America from the north of Sweden. Sandburg’s father, a blacksmith’s helper for the nearby Burlington and Quincy Railroad in Chicago, purchased a small family cottage in 1873 (3). After encountering several August Johnsons in his job for the railroad, his father renamed the family. In a three-room cottage at 313 East Third Street, Carl Sandburg was born on January 6, 1878 (3). Carl was the second of seven children and was called “Charlie” by his family. In 1879, the Sandburgs s
Sandburg found himself on the threshold of a career that would bring him international recognition. He published another volume of poems, Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago Race Riots (3). Poor Writers"tm founder, Phillip Green Wright (a talented scholar, political liberal, and Lombard professor), encouraged the talented Sandburg (3). He published more poems and a novel, Remembrance Rock (1948), based on American history between the 17th and 20th centuries. In 1897, at the age of seventeen, he traveled west to Kansas as a hobo (4). He gained experience by working and traveling which greatly influenced his writing and political view. He covered mainly labor issues, and later her wrote his own feature (3 5). He was awarded prizes by the Poetry Society of America in 1919 and 1921. He used his writing talent most of his life. As time passed, Sandburg grew increasingly alarmed by the troubles of the American worker. In the small Carl Sandburg Park behind the house, his ashes were placed beneath "Remembrance Rock," a red granite boulder. Sandburg wrote poetry for two years before his first book of poetry, In Reckless Ecstasy, was printed in 1904.