The Day Carl Sandburg Died

Posters: How Carl Sandburg Saw Chicago

CHICAGO POEMS, published by Carl Sandburg in 1916, is an ode to a city. It’s a clear eyed and unapologetic love letter: where you tell your true-love you love them not in spite of their imperfections but because of them. This was Sandburg’s first volume of poetry, written in the years just after 1912 when he moved to Chicago.

In some ways, Sandburg’s writing was before its time–more like the social realism you associate with the later 1920s and 1930s–think Grant Wood’s American Gothic, think Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother. This was a time when industry, agriculture, and the worker were the heros of popular art.

Sandburg starts Chicago Poems with “Chicago.” Read it here and see its opening stanza visualized in poster art.