Brief Overview of Carl Sandburg:
As I researched Carl Sandburg, I began to find that there were truly many sides to Carl Sandburg. First, he was a poet whose Chicago Poems brought him fame and recognition. He is often associated with the "Chicago Literary Renaissance," which took place in the 1910s and 1920s and included such authors as Theodore Dreiser and Edgar Lee Masters. However, Sandburg never believed he was an author for one place alone and actually termed himself "The Eternal Hobo."
In his poems, however, Sandburg did celebrate the agricultural and industrial life of the common man. While often criticized for his unrhymed, free-verse style of poetry, Sandburg simply said, "Simple poems for simple folks." He wrote of the struggle of the working classes and used simple, common language. He has been called Whitman-like, a realist, and an imagist. Second, he was a careful historian whose biographies of Abraham Lincoln are thought by many critics to be the most realistic and accurate. Sandburg had a deep love for Lincoln, but thought prior biographers had portrayed him too idealistically so that he seemed almost unreal. Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln: The War Years won him his first Pulitzer Prize.
Lastly, Sandburg was an activist and a "man of the people." He believed strongly in workers' rights, and had a great optimism about his ability to change the fates of "common people." He indicated this politically with his involvement with the Socialist party and, later, with the Democratic party. He also used his poetry to express some of his political views. As stated before, in most of his poems, he celebrated the beauty (and realistically displayed the tragedy) of urban, industrial life. Finally, Sandburg was a folk singer and a children's author. As a hobo, he collected folksongs and later, after he gained recognition as a writer, he toured the country with these songs. He also wrote children's stories for his daughters and published several children's...
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