Sandburg, Carl

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Sandburg, Carl,

1878–1967, American poet, journalist, and biographer, b. Galesburg, Ill. The son of poor Swedish immigrants, he left school at the age of 13 and became a day laborer. He served in the Spanish-American War and, after returning to Galesburg, attended Lombard College (now Knox College). In 1902 he went to work as a newspaperman in Milwaukee. In 1908 he married Lillian Steichen, sister of the photographer Edward SteichenSteichen, Edward
, 1879–1973, American photographer, b. Luxembourg, reared in Hancock, Mich. Steichen is credited with the transformation of photography into an art form.
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. From 1910 to 1912 he was secretary to the Socialist mayor of Milwaukee. Sandburg later moved to Chicago, where he continued his journalism career, becoming in 1917 an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. His poetry first began to attract attention in Harriet Monroe's magazine Poetry. With the appearance of his Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), Smoke and Steel (1920), and Slabs of the Sunburnt West (1922), his reputation was established. Among his later volumes of verse are Good Morning, America (1928), The People, Yes (1936), Complete Poems (1950; Pulitzer Prize), Harvest Poems, 1910–1960 (1960), and Honey and Salt (1963). Sandburg drew most of his inspiration from American history and was profoundly influenced by Walt WhitmanWhitman, Walt
(Walter Whitman), 1819–92, American poet, b. West Hills, N.Y. Considered by many to be the greatest of all American poets, Walt Whitman celebrated the freedom and dignity of the individual and sang the praises of democracy and the brotherhood of man.
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. His verse is vigorous and impressionistic, written without regard for conventional meter and form, in language both simple and noble. Much of his poetry celebrates the beauty of ordinary people and things. Sandburg's most ambitious work was his six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln (1926–39); this monumental work exalts Lincoln as the symbol and embodiment of the American spirit. The last four volumes won the Pulitzer Prize. At 70, Sandburg produced his first work of fiction, the novel Remembrance Rock (1948), a panoramic epic of America. His other works include The American Songbag (1927), a collection of folk ballads and songs; children's books, such as Rootabaga Stories (1922); and the autobiographical Always the Young Strangers (1953).


See his letters, ed. by H. Mitgang (1968); biographies by N. Callahan (1970), H. Golden (1988), and P. Niven (1991); studies by R. Crowder (1963), H. B. Durnell (1965), and W. A. Sutton (1979).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sandburg, Carl


Born Jan. 6, 1878, in Galesburg, Ill.; died July 22, 1967, in Flat Rock, N.C. American poet.

Sandburg’s first volume of verse was Chicago Poems (1916). His collections Cornhuskers (1918) and Smoke and Steel (1920) revealed a deep concern with social problems. Sandburg’s poetry is marked by urban imagery and journalistic language. His mastery of free verse, which is similar to the language of folk songs, is apparent in The American Songbag (1927). Sandburg’s narrative poem The People, Yes (1936) is written in the tradition of W. Whitman; it reflects Sandburg’s radical attitudes during the “red” 1930’s. A philosophical lyricism pervades Sandburg’s later work, as seen in Honey and Salt (1963). Two widely known works by Sandburg are the historical novel Remembrance Rock (1948) and the six-volume biography Abraham Lincoln (1926–39; Russian translation, 1961). In 1959, Sandburg visited the USSR.


Complete Poems. New York, 1970.
The Letters of Carl Sandburg. New York, 1968.
In Russian translation:.
Stikhi raznykh let. Moscow, 1959.
Izbr. lirika. Moscow, 1975.


Kashkin, I. A. Dlia chitatelia-sovremennika. Moscow, 1968.
Callahan, N. Carl Sandburg, Lincoln of Our Literature: A Biography. New York, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sandburg, Carl (August) (Militant; Jack Philips, pen names)

(1878–1967) poet, writer, folklorist; born in Galesburg, Ill. He studied at Lombard College, Galesburg (1898–1902)—with time out for service in the Spanish-American War (1899)—and in the decades ahead would work as an editor, journalist, copywriter, lecturer, and collector of folk songs. He was an organizer of the Social-Democratic Party (1908), and was secretary to the Socialist mayor of Milwaukee (1910–12). Known for such famous poems as "Chicago" (1914), and "Fog" (1916), he won the Pulitzer Prize (1940) for the last of his six-volume biography of Lincoln (1926–39). He was ahead of most of his fellow poets in his interest in American folksong and lore; he collected some 300 folksongs and ballads in The American Songbag (1927) and he often gave public recitals, accompanying himself on the guitar. He also wrote children's books and a novel, Remembrance Rock (1948). Based in Chicago for much of his life, he retired to Flat Rock, N.C.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Sandburg, Carl. "Skyscraper" in Poetry X, Poetry Archives: A Continuing Selection of Classic and Contemporary Poems,