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The People, Yes

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A long poem that makes brilliant use of the legends and myths, the tall tales and sayings of America. "If America has a folksinger today he is Carl Sandburg, a singer who comes out of the prairie soil... who can hand back to the people a creation that has scraps of their own insight, humor, and imagination" (Padraic Colum).
Paperback, 300 pages
Published June 4th 1990 by Mariner Books (first published 1936)
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I'm not sure how I got through all those American lit classes without ever hearing about this. When it came to Sandburg, I can only remember the Chicago Poems getting mentioned, which are good, but not as good as this. I had to wait for a visit to Sandburg's last home, Connemara in western North Carolina which led me to seek out the PBS American Masters special on Sandburg, which highlighted this book as the work Sandburg was perhaps most proud of.

I have to agree in that estimation. Of what I've
Written with a shotgun rather than, like Dickinson, a marksman's telescopic rifle--the "Loaded Gun that stood in Corners, till the day..." Like Steinbeck, Sandburg is a great writer without being a particularly good writer: both, because their subjects are unprecedented and necessary. In Sandburg's case, "Hope is a tattered flag...the shimmer...the blue echo...." He does run on, but in the midst of it, wonderful gems, often colloquial: "I got some poles to hold it on the east side / a ...more
So I have to say that I actually did not like this book very much at all. I'm giving it three stars because I do see how it might be appreciated; it is an impressive work that really captures the thought and tone of the Great Depression and manages to give support to the people of the time. I read the library's copy, and I think the book might be about as old as the text, so I can really imagine it in the hands of someone down on his luck, or desperately trying to stay employed. At the time, I t ...more
David Timms
Oct 01, 2008 David Timms rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sandburg fans, poetry lovers, poetry haters
I loved so much of this book. It has many varieties of poems in it. I can't get some of the word images out of my head, fifty years after I first read them.

"If your Mother asks if you wnt one egg for breakfast or two, and you say one, but she makes two, then you eat them both, WHO is better at math, you or your Mother?"

ok, so I may have missed a word or two, but it stuck in this cranium in that form for half a century. In fact, I could relate a number of other slices of poems from this book, eac
Nicholas Maulucci
classic. a little abstract, depressing.
Though Sandburg is what many have said, a poet who aspired to keep his language as simple as possible, I love this book. Sometimes, simple is better.
Colton Schara
Made up of slang, cliches, and aphorisms. Carl Sandburg catches the myth of America through the voices of its people.
this one will raise some hairs on the ol' neck. mmphareeeeeee.
Oct 11, 2011 M added it
Is this kitsch or is it art? Is it profound or is it pop?
Lyrical with muscle - an uneven, but grabbing poem of us.
m. soria
dude, for real...
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Carl August Sandburg was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat".

For more info see
More about Carl Sandburg...
Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years Chicago Poems The Complete Poems Rootabaga Stories Selected Poems

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“Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is a born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.”
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if the women don't get you then the whiskey must.” 15 likes
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