Hear Carl Sandburg reading his poems, one per day, weekdays at 9:00 AM.
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
—Carl Sandburg, from “Chicago” 1916
Near the end of his life, Studs Terkel marveled at the words of Carl Sandburg, a poet who mirrored his world with a kind of caustic realism; always with a heart turned toward the plight and the dignity of the common man. It was Studs who remarked that Sandburg’s words continue to ring true, 100 years after he put pen to paper.
Called “Charlie” as a youngster, Carl Sandburg was born to Swedish immigrants in Galesburg, IL on January 6, 1878. His father worked in the blacksmith’s shop for the railroad. In 1897, Charlie began riding the rails, living a hobo’s life and picking up folk songs along the way. He volunteered for service in the Spanish-American War, and entered Lombard College upon his return. His Chicago Poems were published in 1916. He won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and second in 1951. Hear a sampling of his poems throughout August, read by Sandburg himself, each weekday at 9:00 AM.