This is Carl Sandburg's fourth collection of poetry. His signature style, a rough-and-ready free verse that often transforms into poetic prose, is in full view. Like Whitman before him and like Masters and Frost in his own time, he puts his focus directly on life as he sees it around him, life in the rough-and-tumble Chicago of the early 20th century and life in the American West at a time when that wild country was finally succumbing to civilization.
Sandburg can be emotionally brutal; he writes of death with a rare and unflinching directness. He can also be emotionally transcendant, writing of the beauty of the world with a soaring eye. He is a newspaperman turned poet, or perhaps a poet turned journalist; his writing has the direct immediacy of the daily beat. There is nothing dated about his work; in fact, he speaks to us today as if he wrote today, hitting fundamentals about the way we live with clarity and force.
Public Domain (P)2011 Robert Bethune
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