From Poverty to Poetry- Carl Sandburg’s Life and its Influence on his Writing

Carl Sandburg was a very complex poet despite the fact that the majority of his poems and writing incorporate themes of industrial and natural life. While his poetry expressed virtually the same theme and topic in each piece, Sandburg used varying language, techniques, styles and imagery in order to represent the ideas in powerful and unique ways. This theme allowed Sandburg to criticize aspects of the society he was living in through his poetry. The differences in the two environments that Sandburg illustrated showed his critique of the poverty in his society. This criticism was based off of Sandburg’s personal life in poverty. When he was 13, Sandburg dropped out of school to work and try and help his family. He then lived as a hobo at 17. His poetry is a reflection of his struggles as a citizen in his own city. He used his details in his poetry to highlight the struggles of the poor working class and the ways the city treated them. Sandburg also hinted was the life of war in his poetry. These details stemmed from his service Puerto Rico in the Spanish American War. This image represents the main theme Sandburg incorporated in his poetry. A lot of Sandburg’s work illustrated details of industrial life and the way it contrasted with natural life. Through these contrasting environments, Sandburg was able to clearly display his criticism of the lives of the poor. This image illustrates the contrast of the industrial life in the background and the nature that represents the poor, working class on the side. The worker on the train represents the subject of many of Sandburg’s poem as the man represents a poor worker. Sandburg focused his poetry on the issues of the working class and jobs in Chicago due to his background. Sandburg’s life had a major influence on the poetry he produced.

An image representing the contrast between industrial and natural life and the depiction of a working class citizen illustrated in Carl Sandburg’s poetry.
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