The Works of Poet Carl Sandburg and His Effect on American Poetry

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The Works of Poet Carl Sandburg and His Effect on American Poetry

The beloved poet, Carl Sandburg, changed the course of American poetry. He was a poet, novelist, journalist, and songwriter, yet the influence of his works have not always been acknowledged. Carl Sandburg's evocations of American urban and rural life, compassion for people, and his love of nature, through his works have made an enormous contribution to the American literary scene.

Carl Sandburg was born on January 6, 1878 to illiterate parents of Swedish decent in Galesburg, Illinois. Much of Sandburg's literary works are a result of his life time observations. He, more generously than many of his fellow authors, left a detailed account of his wanderings, his numerous jobs, his early struggles, and his successes in life. His own life fascinated him.(Rogers 19) Therefore, he felt he wanted to share his fascination with the people he enjoyed writing about.

Carl Sandburg is so greatly remembered because his writing was considerably different from the writing of his contemporaries. He let his mind travel, and be free. His works included the use of free verse, colloquialisms, an original type of rhythm, and oddly structured, prosaic poetry that emphasized key phrases and images.(clc 35, 338) Sandburg was the first of a long line of poets and authors to use the words and phrases that he created in his poetry.

Sandburg's style of writing is what changed the course of American poetry. Before Sandburg, most poetry and other literary works were considerably similar, along with dull and boring. He carried poetry to "new horizons." He, many times, wrote of reality, which was not always what people wanted to read, but it was reality and it had to be dealt with. This is how his writing became so known, because he dealt with what was real in our fantasy world.

Sandburg was not afraid to express his true feelings and thought on people, society, nature, and life in general. One of his finest poetic achievements is a poem called The People, Yes. It is a poem about people in life, and everything life entails. The images in it range from a white man and an Indian man arguing over who knows more, to why children put beans in their ears when told not to. The People, Yes covers everyday dilemmas encountered by the common man, but have not been expressed, and it is mandated by none other than Carl Sandburg, the great American poet.

"The people is a myth, an abstraction.
And what myth would you put in place of the people? And what abstraction would you exchange for this one? And when has creative man not toiled deep in myth? And who fights for a bellyful only and where is any nameworth remembering for anything else than the human abstraction woven through it with in visible things?

"Precisely who and what is the people?"

Sandburg was what some might call obsessed with people, but in a positive way. He was amazed, and at the same time also disgusted with, all the diverse types of people who live in our society. The quote above is from his poem, The People, Yes. The poem's expressions of love, hatred, happiness, and sorrow is based upon the questions in life that are answered by the people. Why are people such a puzzle? Why don't the rich and the poor get along? Is there a way to describe and figure people out?...who knows? The answer is no one, not even Carl Sandburg, but he was the man who was able to express these thoughts in a poetic form, because he was so greatly interested with the people and their ways of life.

When Sandburg's poems were made public, people had many different views on his writing. Some people really enjoyed it, others hated it, and others felt as if it was decent writing that you could read with a dispassionate feeling. His poems, mainly The People, Yes, were rejected just as much as they was...
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