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1930 220 PRSENTING Figure CARL SANDBURG America's Most Distinctive Poet Lincoln's Most Understanding Biographer Best Writer of Children's Stories of this Generation A Platform Star REDPATH CARL SANDBURG—The Voice of America SOME REMARKABLE TRIBUTES TO CARL SANDBURG ENGLISH AND FRENCH CRITICS PRAISE SANDBURG Lecture-Recital Programs Carl Sandburg and His Guitar 1. Poems, Songs, Stories. Bryn Mawr, March 12, 1930. It was one of the most pleasant affairs ever known at Bryn Mawr, and the undergraduates enjoyed it hugely—Edna S. Rice. 2. An Evening with Carl Sandburg. Savannah, Ga.-News When he concluded, applause was prolonged and people remained seated hoping he would continue. 3. Animals and Fools. Emporia Gazette The Carl Sandburg entertainment is a concert, grand opera, philosophic pabulum and dramatic entertainment all in one. I have never enjoyed an entertainment more.—William Allen White. 4. Romanticism and Realism in American Art and Literature. Cleveland, Ohio It was inspiring to see Mr. Sandburg lose himself in his subject, Romanticism and Realism in Modern Poetry. His presence on the platform and the manner of his delivery, his beautiful voice created an atmosphere that was the most elevating.—Rabbi Solomon Goldman. These programs include discussions of modern art and poetry, readings from the author's own books, ending with folk songs with guitar accompaniment. The Voice of America CARL SANDBURG, America's most distinctive poet, Lincoln's most understanding biographer, journalist, best author of children's books of this generation, singer of American folk songs, has been a teamster, coal-heaver, harvest hand, and is one of the picturesque figures in the American scene now. Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1878. At the age of thirteen, he left grammar school and began roving. Later he worked his way through Lombard College, Galesburg. He saw active service during the Spanish War, and during the World War represented a newspaper syndicate in the Scandinavian countries. At present, he is on the staff of the Chicago Daily News. He has given art talks, read from his five books of verse and sung his American folk songs at nearly all the state universities of our country, before teachers' and librarians' conventions, for women's clubs, for men's dinners. His return date record is remarkable—four consecutive years at Chicago University and eleven consecutive years at Cornell College, Iowa, and many other places two and three times. He read the title piece of Good Morning, America as the Phi Beta Kappa poem at Harvard University in 1928. Among Phi Beta Kappa poets and orators of the past will be found Emerson and Holmes, and other names that loom large in American literature. Good Morning, America spans a continent and ranks with the best of previous Phi Beta Kappa productions. All his poems have been given a wide reading. His poem Chicago has been translated into fourteen different languages. The American Songbag, his colossal compilation of American folk songs, with words, music and marginal notes, is an acknowledged classic, a history of our country in song. His Abraham Lincoln; The Prairie Years is designated by the Book List of the American Library Association as the most understanding biography of Lincoln. Potato Face, his 1930 book, is pronounced a masterpiece of nonsense, fantasy and philosophy. A selection of his Rootabaga Stories is now in five school readers. His Victor records have gone to a large audience. While now toiling on his three volume opus Abraham Lincoln; the War Years, he is limited in time for the platform and must be called for early. CARL SANDBURG—The Voice of America Poet—Vagabond—Biographer Carl Sandburg at Fifty By HARRY HANSEN, in the New York World, January 6, 1928. CARL SANDBURG is fifty years old today. He is poet, biographer, philosopher. He has lived close to the life of the prairie and the factory town and caught its essence, giving it back in poems after deep brooding. He has a lively curiosity about the humbler occupations, and this brought him emotionally to Abraham Lincoln and made him Lincoln's most understanding biographer. At fifty, Carl Sandburg is a rare and many-sided individual. I think of him chiefly as a man whose rich comment on men and events wakes me up to new valuations of life. He has in him the protests and indignation of a social revolutionary, the whimsicality and wistfulness of a child and a seer's ability to see through veneers to essentials. I have seen Carl Sandburg in many attitudes, and in the course of time have written a great deal about him. I have seen him bending over his typewriter in a newspaper office, finding nuggets in voluminous clippings that come out of inner pockets, biting off the end of a stogie, and stopping to pass on a humorous observation as rich as the kernel of a nut; telling an audience with something of a swagger that folk songs hold richer treasures than grand opera; relating an apochryphal anecdote of Abraham Lincoln, or reading a fairy tale to a child. But among the best of his conceptions is this little stanza, which comes back to me again and again and which, strangely enough, was condemned by the guardians of English speech over ten years ago for its bucket of ashes. It goes: I speak of new cities and a new people. I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes. I tell you yesterday is a wind gone down, a sun dropped in the west. I tell you there is nothing in the world only an ocean of tomorrows, a sky of tomorrows. Who Reads Carl Sandburg? By CHARLES H. COMPTON, Assistant Librarian, St. Louis Public Library, in South Atlantic Quarterly, April, 1929. TEN YEARS ago the critics had their fling at Sandburg. Today he is accepted. Anthologies of modern verse include him. An examination of the records of the Public Library disclosed the identity of about one hundred recent readers of Sandburg's poetry. They in most part have the same street addresses as the characters of Sandburg's own creation—readers from the common walks of life, but with something from the neck up worth possessing. A similar study of readers of William James indicated that much the same classes of people were reading him as read Sandburg. In order to find out what these readers thought of Sandburg's poetry, I wrote to some of them, asking them to tell me how they happened to become interested in his poetry, whether they liked or disliked it; did they consider it poetry, and would it live, etc.? Most of their answers showed an understanding of Sandburg, which in their estimate of his place in present day American literature corresponds rather closely with the varying estimate of the literary critics. I wonder whether the fourteen-year-old girl has not answered the question as to whether Sandburg's poetry will live when she says: It will live in me, and again as to whether it is poetry when she says: What else could it be but poetry, for it seems to sing and make something sing in the reader, too. Sandburg's poetry is not like that of Shelley or Keats, yet it stirs my emotions, not the same emotions, but just as deeply and perhaps more deeply, because Sandburg's poetry goes down deep into the life of this 20th Century. It is a life I understand. Of all the poets, I know, not excepting Walt Whitman, Sandburg is not excelled in his sympathy with the common and even lowest of humanity, with the great unwashed, with the boobs and the flappers, with the 75 per cent of our population whom intelligence testers set down as morons. He interprets them and draws from them the beauty hidden away in the dark recesses of their outwardly unlovely exteriors. Will Sandburg's poetry live? I am willing to abide by the answer of the fourteen-year-old girl: It will live in me, and I believe in still other me's yet unborn, in whom Carl Sandburg will live and will stir pools in the hidden places of their souls. Singer of American Folk Songs The Last of the Troubadours By LLOYD LEWIS, in The Chicagoan, August 13, 1929 THE BEST singing Carl Snadburg ever did was at the dinner Morris Fishbein gave for Sinclair Lewis, about four years back. Down at the very end of the table, opposite the host, sat Chicago's biggest literary figure, Carl Sandburg, behind his hair and his stogy. At length Fishbein asked Carl if he'd sing. Somebody brought a guitar and the iron-jawed Swede stood up, and in that soft, don't give a damn way of his sang The Buffalo Skinners. Everything got as quiet as a church, for it's a great man's-song, all about starvation, blood, fleas, hides, entrails, thirst and Indian-devils, and men being cheated out of their wages and killing their employers to get even—a novel, an epic novel boiled down to simple words and set to queer, haunting music that rises and falls like the winds on the western plains. I've heard the discoverer of the song, John Lomax, of Texas sing it, but never like Carl sang it that night. it was like a funeral song to pioneer America that has gone, and when Carl was done, Sinclair Lewis spoke up, his face streaked with tears, That's the America I came home to,—that's it. Sandburg went on to livelier songs. It was the first time a lot of supposedly well informed men knew Carl as anything but a poet and newspaper man. As a matter of fact, he has been singing for eight years on the American platform from Coast to Coast. Later on he published his American Songbag, and all the writers and critics knew about his singing, but to this day, few of them seemed to realize that the man is at his greatest with a guitar in his hand—undeniably a complete and independent artist. He is the last of the troubadours, is Sandburg, the last of the nomad artists who hunted out songs people made up, and then sang them back to the people like a revelation. Both his singing and his search for songs are part of his belief in the essential merit of the common man. Like Whitman, his philosophy is that of a pioneer Quaker who has turned paradoxically to song. Rousseau, Goethe and old Walt would have sat up all night to hear him sing. George Fox, for all his Quaker distrust of music, would have understood him perfectly. However, that is speculative. All I know for sure is that you should have heard him sing, the night he made Sinclair Lewis cry. America's Poet By HELEN KELLER IF I had known that America's Poet was in the audience, smiling kindly upon my little act, I should have forgotten my lines in happy confusion. For I think of you as thousands of others think of you as the voice of the brother of men uttering their dumb joys in glad song, or their misery and passion in thunderous notes of protest. Many and many a time when you least suspected it, your spirit has spoken to mine in a kindred language. Long before any of your verse was embossed for the blind, friends used to spell your poems to me. But last winter I discovered that some angel had transcribed a number of your poems into Braille. How eagerly my hands lingered over the pages, only wishing there were more of them to caress and absorb. That is no metaphor; for I literally absorb the poets I love. I carry their thoughts about with me, as a bird flies off with a bit of straw to its nest, and with them I build the bright castles I dwell in. You can give me great sense of freedom and vision and an amazing adaptability to life's perversities. And your scorn—how it searches out hypocrisy vivid as lightning! I feel that you have looked into all darknesses and listened to all silences, and feared not. But I feel equally your joy in all loveliness, your compassion and tenderness. Your birds and little people of the eaves talk into my hands sometimes. Figure SOME REMARKABLE TRIBUTES TO CARL SANDBURG Books by Carl Sandburg Order from Your Bookseller or the Publisher Harcourt, Brace & Company, 383 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y. Please send me: □ ABRAHAM LINCOLN; The Prairie Years 2 vols. illustrated $10.00 1 vol. illustrated 5.00 □ THE AMERICAN SONGBAG, Illustrated 7.50 □ 1930 Popular Edition 3.50 280 songs, ballads, ditties, with complete harmonizations for piano. □ ROOTABAGA PIGEONS, Illustrated 2.00 □ ROOTABAGA STORIES, Illustrated 2.00 □ ROOTABAGA COUNTRY, Illustrated by Peggy Bacon 2.50 □ POTATO FACE 1.50 □ SELECTED POEMS Edited by Rebecca West 2.00 □ SLABS OF THE SUNBURNT WEST 1.50 □ SMOKE & STEEL 2.00 □ GOOD MORNING, AMERICA 3.00 □ EARLY MOON (Verses for youth with a talk on poetry) Illustrated 3.00 Send C. O. D. I enclose $ Name Street City and State What Foreign Critics Say: JEAN CATEL (Mercure de France) His words arrest the attenion as would a rustic in wooden shoes in a fashionable gathering … The youth of every race is always rich in legends and epics … America has its prairies. Sung by Carl Sandburg it becomes the impassive Force which has created the American people. CLEMENT SHORTER (The Sphere, London, England) I venture to predict that in Carl Sandburg America has produced another Walt Whitman. To me he is clearly one of the most far-sighted critics of life that the world of poetry has revealed, and poets have ever been the prophets and seers of the ages … The work of this great imaginist is worth ten times more than the insipidness of many a rhymer who holds a high place in current English criticism. THE NATION (London, England) He has lifted American poetry away from the academic, which in America is always the Colonial. He is one of the poets of today who are the signs of, and the helps to, the emergence of America as a full nationality. JOHN DRINKWATER The publication of Mr. Carl Sandburg's Prairie Years has, I think, for the first time given Lincoln his full epic stature. AMERICAN CRITICS So much praise has been given Carl Sandburg by American writers and critics that it would be impossible to print even a small portion of it here. Suffice it to say, Sandburg is generally admired and accepted by them as one of the great literary men of today, and this fact is well known to the American literary public. Figure ENGLISH AND FRENCH CRITICS PRAISE SANDBURG America's Most Picturesque Platform Star Just a few of the many recent press comments about Carl Sandburg and his guitar. Providence Evening Bulletin March 1, 1930 ON THE stage of the Moses Brown Auditorium, in his combination lecture, reading and song recital, the poet held his audience spellbound for more than an hour and a half. He is tall and lanky and has an air of simplicity and strength about him that is quite in keeping with what one had imagined the singer of the gutter songs of America ought to look like. His long gray hair, which he parts on the right side, constantly falls over his eyes, and he keeps on shaking and brushing it back. His hands are strong and shapely, as if they were used to building things and holding children, as someone has said. One time scene-shifter, truck handler, dish-washer, harvest hand, pottery mender and soldier in the Spanish-American War, he has some of each of these professions about him, but looks above all the poet and the dreamer. But impressive as he looks, one must hear his voice to feel the sweep and depth of his personality. He plays upon his voice as a great virtuoso plays upon an instrument. It is a rich, mellow, deep monotone, and he heightens the effect of his reading by drawing out his words slowly. As the occasion demands his voice becomes hauntingly caressing and tender and then rises threateningly in anger. At all times it has a rich, sensuous undertone and keeps the audience rapt in attention like the ecstatic incantation of an ancient bard. After reading two of the earlier poems and two droll, uproariously funny fantasies from his book Potato Face, a volume of stories for both adults and children, to be published next month, he sang a number of folk songs, strumming on his guitar. An enthusiastic collector of American folk songs and author of The American Songbag, he gave a fine rendition of cowboy and railroad songs, spirituals, and ditties of Kentucky mountaineers and early Illinois settlers. With his audience the poet left last night a highly characteristic definition of what poetry is. Poetry, he said, is the achievement of a synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits. Illinois State Register May 7, 1930 VACHEL LINDSAY'S song of welcome to Carl Sandburg is the voice of Springfield. If needed, as Lindsay says in his sublime poem, the shades of Lincoln walk the streets, that tall, gaunt figure pauses to join Lindsay in welcome to Sandburg, one of whose greatest works in his Life of Lincoln. Sandburg writes as Lincoln wrote and spoke, in an intensely human way, with charming simplicity, an appealing sense of humor, a subtle overthrow of conventions, an exposure of hypocrisy, a contempt for tyranny and greed, a sublime appreciation of the good and the beautiful, and in the language of sunshine and flowers and the loveliness of things which turns the human heart to better things and quickens desire for clearer thinking and better living. Carl Sandburg captivated a capacity audience at the meeting of the Mid-Day Luncheon club this noon at the Leland hotel. CHICAGO (Tribune) Carl Sandburg, the modern poet, whose verse put Chicago on the map, was the speaker, and the crowd he attracted was regarded by Dean H. F. Harrington of the Medill School of Journalism as conclusive evidence that the public interest in poetry is not dead, or even sleeping. NEW YORK (The Bookman) When he talks your attention is gripped by the same honest man-to-man sincerity which he is able to put into the grinding, crashing, angular words of his unrhymed, free-rhythmed verses. Meticulous rhyme and metre for Mr. Sandburg's verses would be like woolen mits on the fingers of a Paderewski playing.—Walter Yust. FREEPORT, ILL. Carl Sandburg is a wonderful person. It was a privilege to have him on our program.—N. W. Div., Ill. Teachers' Asso. FARGO, N. D. (North Dakota Agricultural College, Dec. 2, 1929) Carl Sandburg did a splendid piece of work and we all enjoyed him ever so much.—A. G. Arvold. COLUMBIA, S. C. (The State) The only proper way to handle Carl Sandburg is to bring him and let him chant himself. MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., Oct. 26, 1929. Carl Sandburg's appearance before The Dinner Club was a complete success.—W. W. Markus. Printed in U. S. A.
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Sandburg, Carl|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
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|Number of Pages||8|
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