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Carl Sandburg. 1878-1967. an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat.". Life and Writings.

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carl sandburg

Carl Sandburg


an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat."
life and writings
Life and Writings
  • Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, as the son of poor Swedish immigrant parents. His father was August Sandburg, a blacksmith and railroad worker, who had changed his name from Johnson. His mother was the former Clara Anderson.
  • Carl Sandburg worked from the time he was a young boy. He quit school following his graduation from eighth grade in 1891 and spent a decade working a variety of jobs.
  • He delivered milk, harvested ice, laid bricks, threshed wheat in Kansas, and shined shoes in Galesburg's Union Hotel before traveling as a hobo in 1897.
  • His experiences working and traveling greatly influenced his writing and political views.
  • He saw first-hand the sharp contrast between rich and poor, a dichotomy that instilled in him a distrust of capitalism.
  • When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 Sandburg volunteered for service, and at the age of twenty was ordered to Puerto Rico, where he spent days battling only heat and mosquitoes.
  • Upon his return to his hometown later that year, he entered Lombard College, supporting himself as a call fireman.
  • Sandburg's college years shaped his literary talents and political views. While at Lombard, Sandburg joined the Poor Writers' Club, an informal literary organization whose members met to read and criticize poetry.
  • Poor Writers' founder, Lombard professor Phillip Green Wright, a talented scholar and political liberal, encouraged the talented young Sandburg.
  • The Sandburgs soon moved to Chicago, where Carl became an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News.
  • At party headquarters in Milwaukee, Sandburg met Lilian Steichen, whom he married in 1908.
  • Sandburg was virtually unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine.
  • Two years later his book Chicago Poems was published and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career that would bring him international acclaim.
  • In the twenties, he started some of his most ambitious projects, including his study of Abraham Lincoln.
  • His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, published in 1926, was Sandburg's first financial success.
  • The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.
  • Sandburg's Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951.
  • From 1945 he lived as a farmer and writer, breeding goats and folk-singing, in Flat Rock, North Carolina.
  • Sandburg died at his North Carolina home July 22, 1967. His ashes were returned, as he had requested, to his Galesburg birthplace.
  • In the small Carl Sandburg Park behind the house, his ashes were placed beneath Remembrance Rock, a red granite boulder.

A. Chicago

B. Fog

C. The Harbor


The fog comes

On little cat feet.

It sits looking

Over harbor and city

On silent haunches

And then, moves on.


  • "Fog," is among the few exceptions that mark Sandburg's break from free verse poetry. Fog", a mere six lines long, is written in verse-form and is an innocent expression of finding beauty in an ordinary world.
  • "Fog" is a delightful poem, using simple imagery.
  • There aren't a lot of words, and the image, at first look, isn't very complex. However, like a haiku poem, there is far more than just the description of the movement of misty air. Fog leaves the natural and becomes surreal and ethereal, but always anchored to the familiar reality we all know.