Poetry Is an Echo, Asking a Shadow to Dance.

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg
Born: 6 January 1878, Illinois, USA
Nationality: American
Died: 22 July 1967, North Carolina, USA

Sandburg was a poet, journalist, biographer, and editor. He received three Pulitzer Prizes; two for poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. He was regarded as a leading figure in contemporary literature during his lifetime. In his day he enjoyed unrivaled appeal as a poet.

AT thirteen Sandburg left school and began work driving a milk wagon. He worked as a hotel porter from the age of fourteen until he was eighteen, then became a bricklayer and farm labourer on the wheat plains of Kansas. After an interval at Lombard College, Galesburg, he returned to hotel work in Denver. He began his writing career as a journalist for the Chicago Daily News. Later he wrote history, biographies, poetry, novels, and children’s literature.

During the Spanish-American War Sandburg volunteered for military service and was stationed with the 6th Illinois Infantry in Puerto Rico from July 1898. He attended West Point for two weeks before failing examinations in mathematics and grammar. Returning to Galesburg he enrolled at Lombard College and left without a degree in 1903. He moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to work for a newspaper, and joined the Wisconsin Social Democratic Party

Sandburg met Lilian Steichen at the Milwaukee Social Democratic Party in 1907 and they were married in 1908. The couple raised three daughters. They moved to Michigan in 1911 then Illinois in 1912 when Sandburg was offered a job by a Chicago newspaper. They settled in Elmhurst, Illinois from 1919 to 1930. During this time Sandburg wrote Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918) and Smoke and Steel (1920). Cornhuskers won Sandburg a Pulitzer Prize in 1919. The family returned to Michigan in 1930..

In 1940 Sandburg’s four-volume The War Years, a sequel to his Abraham Lincoln, won the Pulitzer Prize for History. He won a second Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1951 with Complete Poems. Sandburg moved to a Ranch in North Carolina in 1945 where he produces over a third of his published work, living with his wife, daughters, and grandchildren.

Sandburg supported the Civil Rights Movement and on 12 February 1959, in celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, he addressed Congress. He is the first white man to receive the Silver Plaque Award from the NAACP as a major prophet of civil rights

Sandburg died in 1967 and his ashes interred under Remembrance Rock located behind the house he was born in Galesburg

Happiness by Carl Sandburg

I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children
and a keg of beer and an
accordion

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