The People’s Pugilist
Carl Sandburg & Matthias Regan 2009 282p 5 x 8
Carl Sandburg is widely known as the ‘great’ poet from Illinois, and especially remembered for his monumental three-volume biographical study of Abraham Lincoln. He was also a journalist, author of children’s stories, and pathbreaking songwriter. This new collection of his writings conveys the excitement and tragedy of his times and his commitment to a movement for change.
From the introduction, ‘Like the Wobbly’s favorite son, Joe Hill, Sandburg created a rabble-rousing persona in order to provoke a revolution in everyday life. Sandburg’s prose brings the romantic figure of the modern poet as a polemicist, an orator for the people, together with the figure of the journalist as a gallant, acerbic muckraker. This figure becomes a vehicle from which to disseminate a radical vision of modern democracy. The articulation of this modern world-view was what composed the Charles H. Kerr Company’s ‘house style’ for its Review, making it a forerunner of such crucial modernist literary organs as Poetry magazine; indeed, it was in the Review, not Poetry magazine, that the best of Sandburg’s Chicago Poems first appeared.’