Quotations From CARL SANDBURG

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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).

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  • 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."

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  • 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.

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  • 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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  • 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.
  • Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.
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