Meet the Poets: Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg NYWTS

Carl Sandburg
1919, 1951 Pulitzer Prize Poetry
1940 Pulitzer Prize History

His Own Style

“I make it clear why I write as I do and why other poets write as they do. After hundreds of experiments, I decided to go my own way in style and see what would happen.” – Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his history, a biography of Abraham Lincoln.

Influence of Poetry Magazine

Sandburg was almost unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine.

Chicago Poems, Cornhuskers, and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

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.

Sandburg published another volume of poems, Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago race riots. These collections lead to the 1919 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Rootabaga Stories

More poetry followed, along with Rootabaga Stories (1922), a book of fanciful children’s tales.

The Rootabaga Stories prompted Sandburg’s publisher, Alfred Harcourt, to suggest a biography of Abraham Lincoln for children.

The success of Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Sandburg researched and wrote for three years, producing not a children’s book, but a two-volume biography for adults. His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, published in 1926, was Sandburg’s first financial success.

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years and the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1940

With the financial success, he moved to a new home on the Michigan dunes and devoted the next several years to complete four more volumes, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.

Sandburg continued his prolific writing, publishing more poems, a novel, Remembrance Rock, the second volume of folk songs, and an autobiography, Always the Young Strangers.

In 1945 the Sandburg family moved with their herd of prize-winning goats and thousands of books to Flat Rock, North Carolina.

Complete Poems and the Second Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1951

Sandburg’s Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Sandburg died at his North Carolina home on 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. Ten years later the ashes of his wife were placed there.


Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carl_Sandburg_NYWTS.jpg
Articles Sources:  Pulitzer Awards 1919, Pulitzer Awards 1940, and Pulitzer Awards 1951

For more on Carl Sandburg see: http://carl-sandburg.com/biography.htm