Carl Sandburg
As a child of an immigrant couple, Carl Sandburg was barely American himself,
yet the life, which he had lived, has defined key aspects of our great country,
and touched the hearts and minds of her people. Sandburg grew up in the American

Midwest, yet spent the majority of his life traveling throughout the states. The
country, which would define his style of poetry and his views of society,
government, and culture, would equally be defined by his writing, lecturing, and
the American dream he lived: The dream of becoming successful with only an idea
and the will to use it. Historically, Sandburg\'s most defining poetic element is
his free verse style. His open views towards American democracy, labor, and war
earned him great respect, and even greater criticism. He was considered one of

America\'s finest poets during his lifetime; moreover, he is now renowned as one
of America\'s greatest poets of all time (Niven 388-406). August, his father, on
a typical hard labor job expected from an immigrant male raising a family in the
early nineteen hundreds. Odd jobs helped Carl support his family when he was
forced to work at the young age of thirteen. Although raised poor, Carl aspired
to travel the country and it\'s cities. He accomplished this goal with great help
from the American rail system (Niven 388-392). Sandburg went on to become a
great and successful writer for several newspapers as well as author to many
books of poetry. After brief political success, Carl left office to write for

Milwaukee\'s paper, "The Social Democratic Herald" in 1911. Then, just
a few years later, Sandburg starts work at the "Chicago Daily

News"(Niven 392-393). After a friend, Alfred Harcourt, risked his job to
get Sandburg published for the first time, Sandburg\'s career took off. Even
despite massive criticism based only on his political views, Sandburg sold
thousands of books and became highly acclaimed (Lowell, 3012-3014). On January

12, 1920, Untemeyer, a writer for New York\'s "New Republic" claims
that Sandburg is one of the two greatest living poets of the times (Macleigh

3018). Sandburg wrote a landmark six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln. A
consummate platform performer, he roamed the United States for nearly a half
century, guitar in hand, collecting and singing American folk songs. For his own
children and children everywhere he wrote Rootabaga Stories, and Rootabaga

Pigeons, some of the first authentic American fairy tales. He was a journalist
by trade; his newspaper reportage and commentary documented labor, racial, and
economic strife and other key events of his times. But Carl Sandburg was first
and foremost a poet, writing poems about America in the American idiom for the

American people. The titles of his volumes of poetry testify to his major
themes: Chicago Poems, Cornhuskers, Smoke and Steel, Good Morning, America, The

People, Yes. (Niven 399-400) Sandburg\'s vision of the American experience was
shaped in the American Midwest during the complicated events that brought the
nineteenth century to a close. His parents were Swedish immigrants who met in

Illinois, where they had settled in search of a share of American democracy and
prosperity (Macleigh, 3016-3018). August Sandburg helped to build the first
cross-continental railroad, and in the twentieth century his son Carl was an
honored guest on the first cross-continental jet flight. August Sandburg was a
blacksmith\'s helper for the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad in Galesburg,

Illinois, when his son was born on 6 January 1878 in a small cottage a few steps
away from the roundhouse and railroad yards. Carl August Sandburg was the second
child first son of the hardworking Sandburgs. He grew up speaking Swedish and

English, and, eager to be assimilated into American society, he Americanized his
name. In 1884 or 1885, "somewhere in the first year or two of school,"
he began to call himself Charles rather than the Swedish Carl because he had
said "the name Carl would mean one more Poor Swede Boy while the name

Charles filled the mouth and had \'em guessing" (Niven 401-405) There were
seven children in the Sandburg family, and the two youngest sons died of
diphtheria on the same day in 1892. Charles Sandburg had to leave school at age
thirteen to work at a variety of odd jobs to supplement the family income. As a
teenager he was restless and impulsive, hungry for experience in the world
beyond the staid, introverted prairie town, which had always been his. At age
eighteen, he borrowed his father\'s railroad pass and had his first look at

Chicago, the city of his destiny. In 1897 Sandburg joined the corps