Poet, Carl Sandburg wrote about his hometown in his most famous work, Chicago, which begins: "Hog Butcher for the World / Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat / Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler / Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders.
Carl Sandburg was a great voice of the American industrial age, a "people's poet" who combined the mystical patriotism of Walt Whitman with the social activism of Woody Guthrie. Sandburg's special topic was the bustle and spirit of Midwestern and urban America.
Sandburg wrote for the Chicago Daily News and often traveled around the country, singing and collecting folk songs and reciting poetry. He published a collection of 280 folk tunes, The American Songbag, in 1927. His whimsical book Rootabaga Stories (1922) remains a favorite with children. Sandburg twice won the Pulitzer Prize, in 1940 for Abraham Lincoln: the War Years and in 1950 for his Complete Poems.
Gwendolyn Brooks was a Chicago poet, the poet laureate of Illinois and the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Brooks's first collection of poems, A Street in Bronzeville, was published in 1945 to widespread critical acclaim. Her 1949 collection, Annie Allen, won the 1950 Pulizer for poetry; she was the first black poet, male or female, to win the prize.
A teacher at Goddard College and the University of Chicago, poet Lisel Mueller was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1924. She and her family fled Nazi persecution, arriving in the US in 1939. Her serious writing of poetry began in 1953, after the death of her mother.
Her other awards are the Lamont Poetry Selection, the Carl Sandburg Award, the Illinois Poet Laureate Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.
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