Sandburg.jpg"A book is never a masterpiece: it becomes one..." This is Carl Sandburg's theory of literature, as a great poet. Mr. Sandburg was born in January 6, 1878. He was a poet, writer, and a folk musician. He was born with the original name of Carl August Sandburg in Galesburg, Illinois, and was a child of two hard-working Swedish Immigrants. His father's name was August Sandburg, a railroad blacksmith’s helper, and his mother was Clara Mathilda Anderson. His life was really the opposite of what he had when he became a famous poet. He went through many obstacles in life that really challenged him.

Sandburg quit school after his graduation from eighth grade in 1891, and worked to support his family because his family was poor. He was a thirteen year-old boy at this time, and did jobs such as laying bricks, delivering milk, harvesting ice, and washing dishes. In 1897, at the age of seventeen, Carl traveled to Kansas using a railroad pass that he borrowed from his father, as a hobo. Being a homeless person made him learn various folk songs. After traveling to Kansas, He volunteered to serve eight months in the Spanish-American war in Puerto Rico. Serving here really influenced Sandburg. He cannot forget his experiences during the war and can be proven because of all the poems he wrote about his experiences during the war. However, there he also met a student in Lombard College, which is the small school located in his hometown. That student encouraged him to return to his hometown and enroll in Lombard when Sandburg returns from the war.

Carl Sandburg did enroll in Lombard College and there he improved his literacy skills, and political views. With his talents, he impressed a Lombard Professor, Phillip Green Wright, a talented scholar and political liberal. Not only did Wright encouraged Sandburg, but also paid for the publication of Carl's first volume of poetry, a pamphlet called Reckless Ecstasy in the year 1904. After going to college for four years, he then moved to Milwaukee.

In Milwaukee, he decided to work as an advertising writer, and a newspaper reporter. Furthermore, he met Lillian Steichen, who was the sister of a photographer, Edward Steichen. Sandburg then married Lillian Steichen and he later called her "Paula" for some reason. Sandburg then worked for the Social-Democrat party in Wisconsin, and later acted as the secretary of the first Socialist mayor of Milwaukee from the years of 1910 to 1912.


The Sandburg Family moved to Chicago, where Carl became an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. Harriet Monroe, also a famous and talented person in literature, published Sandburg's poems, and encouraged him to continue writing in free verse, a style of writing that Sandburg cultivated during his college years. Mr. Monroe liked the homely speech in Sandburg's poems. Carl was then recognized as a member of the Chicago literary renaissance, which included writers and poets like Ben Hecht, Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, and Edgar Lee Masters. Sandburg wrote Chicago Poems in 1916 and Cornhuskers in 1918 to establish his reputation. After those volumes were published, Sandburg wrote Smoke and Steel in 1920, which is his first attempt to find beauty in modern industrialism. Through these, Carl Sandburg was forever known for his free verse poems that celebrates agricultural and industrial America, American geography and landscape, and the American common people.

In the 1920's, he started his ambitious project, which is his study of President Abraham Lincoln. Carl Sandburg loved and admired the life of Abraham Lincoln since his childhood. For years since he was a child, he collected materials of research about President Lincoln. In the twenties, he gradually began his six-volume biography of the president. He still continued to write about the president during the thirties. He wrote Mary Lincoln, Wife and Widow in 1932, The People, Yes in 1936, and the second part of his Lincoln biography, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years in 1939, which gained him an award of the Pulitzer Prize. Sandburg received a second Pulitzer Prize for his Complete Poems in 1950.

Sandburg's habit of playing folk music was seen through his ballads in The American Songbag and The New American Songbag in 1950. These volumes contained pieces collected from brief tours across America that Carl took each year when he plays banjo or guitar, singing folk songs, and reciting poems.

Sandburg's final poems were Harvest Poems, 1910-1960 which he wrote in 1960, and Honey and Salt in 1963. Carl August Sandburg passed away in 1967 in the month of July.




Red drips from my chin where I have been eating.
Not all the blood, nowhere near all, is wiped off my mouth.

Clots of red mess my hair.
And the tiger, the buffalo, know how.

I was a killer.
Yes, I am a killer.

I come from killing.
I go to more.
I drive red joy ahead of me from killing.
Red gluts and red hungers run in the smears of juices
of my inside bones:
The child cries for suck mother and I cry for war.

The thing that stands out for me is the title, and the words "killer" and "blood." This makes me think that the narrator, or Carl Sandburg, is in a fight or in a war. He can't forget the blood being spilled from all the killing. From what I understand, in the first two lines, the narrator is saying that blood is dripping from his mouth and is not completely wiped off. In the third line, I think the narrator is saying that blood is also covering his hair, making a mess. And because a buffalo and a tiger is red, I think the fourth line gives a description of how red the blood is that covered his hair. In the fifth and sixth line, he admits that he killed people. In the last lines, I really think it's guilt that overcomes the narrator. I think he's saying that he wants to kill more and he has an uncontrollable killing intent, and I think it's because he can't forget all the people he killed.
I can clearly visualize most of the events in the poem. I can see that the narrator is in war killing soldiers with blood spilled everywhere, and on him. Also, Sandburg uses a metaphor to compare how the narrator wants a war while a child wants his or her mom.
In conclusion, I think that the poet wrote this poem because of his experience from serving in the Spanish-American war. This might be his experience at the war, or his friend's that told Sandburg what his experience was while killing people. This is really a realistic poem and maybe a horrible experience that Sandburg wants to share and talk about.

Here is a thing my heart wishes the world had more of:
I heard it in the air of one night when I listened
To a mother singing softly to a child restless and angry
in the darkness.

what has really stood out in this poem is the way it written. i do not get what the poem means but it written in a strange way that can just grab you. i also don't get how the title has to with the poem but i think that the women has not home and is telling the child that they will find one and that the narrator wishes that there where more homes for people like the women outside with the child in the darkness(using all the lines to try and figure it out)
I was also grabbed by when the first time that i have read this is how even thought i did not get what it meant i felt though as is i had read a vary deep story. i found this poem from a list of them that he has written on a "late night car" and think that it connects to his life because in his time he has been rejected along with his poems he felt as tough he could use more "homes" for both him and for his poems.


This was another poem Carl Sandburg wrote about war. Once again, influenced by his experience at the Spanish-American War. It's a poem from his published Chicago Poems in 1916.

This was the first poem wrote in Sandburg's Chicago Poems.

Laughing Corn
This was a poem from Carl Sandburg's published Cornhuskers in 1918.

this poem wass from a colectoin of his that he wrote "on a late night car"