Carl Sandburg

(6 January 1878 – 22 July 1967 / Illinois)

Carl Sandburg Quotes

  • ''Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. New York Times (Feb. 13, 1959).
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  • ''Ordering a man to write a poem is like commanding a pregnant woman to give birth to a red-headed child.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. Quoted in The Reader's Digest (Pleasantville, New York, February, 1978).
  • ''The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. The People, Yes (l. 7). . . Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford University Press.
  • ''Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. The People, Yes (1936). The words were popularized during the anti-war protests of the 1960s, and were echoed in the 1970 movie Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? starring Brian Keith and Tony Curtis. Allen Ginsberg also recalls the line in his 1972 poem, Graffiti: "What if someone gave a war & Nobody came? Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again."
  • ''The sea speaks a language polite people never repeat. It is a colossal scavenger slang and has no respect.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. Two Nocturnes.
  • ''Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.''

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Best Poem of Carl Sandburg


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

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

Read the full of Fog

Noon Hour

She sits in the dust at the walls
And makes cigars,
Bending at the bench
With fingers wage-anxious,
Changing her sweat for the day's pay.

Now the noon hour has come,
And she leans with her bare arms
On the window-sill over the river,

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