A Poet that Inspired Me

Carl Sandburg writes free verse with a creative twist defining modern poetry styles as “ear wigglings”.  I love writing free verse because I can rhyme or not, I can repeat lines at will because there are no boundaries to define me.”Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment.”~Sandburg What I love is how his poems continue to attract new audiences every day.


Fling your red scarf faster and faster, dancer.
It is summer and the sun loves a million green leaves,
masses of green.
Your red scarf flashes across them calling and a-calling.
The silk and flare of it is a great soprano leading a
Carried along in a rouse of voices reaching for the heart
of the world.
Your toes are singing to meet the song of your arms:

Let the red scarf go swifter.
Summer and the sun command you.

Fog By Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

“Richard Crowder notes in Carl Sandburg, the poet ‘Had been the first poet of modern times actually to use the language of the people as his almost total means of expression…. Sandburg had entered into the language of the people; he was not looking at it as a scientific phenomenon or a curiosity…. He was at home with it’.”

“Sandburg, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and biographer of the quite sensible Abraham Lincoln, remains one of the great unrecognized writers of nonsense. Rootabaga Stories, Sandburg’s widely read but critically ignored collection of abstruse stories, is most often—but maybe dismissively—considered children’s lit. Sandburg, on the other hand, considered his so-called Rootabaga country for readers “5 to 105 years of age.”

“The Rootabaga stories were,” Sandburg wrote, “. . . attempts to catch fantasy, accents, pulses, eye flashes, inconceivably rapid and perfect gestures, sudden pantomimic moments, drawls and drolleries, gazings and musings—authoritative poetic instants—knowing that if the whir of them were caught quickly and simply enough in words, the result would be a child lore interesting to child and grown-up.”

Nonsense has come to connote a style of nursery rhymes, little comic vignettes, or limerick-y sketches; it is not primarily a genre but a device. It functions in two primary ways: by defying logic with paradox and confusion (“the red brick is blue”) or with semantics, ignoring fundamental grammar rules such as subject-object relationship. Sandburg’s stories fall into the former category—they explore anti-logic rather than anti-grammar. Sentences look like sentences, but they read like something else altogether.”




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