When I first started this post—and this whole genre of posts, “Author’s Note”—I nearly gave up before I had even started. Carl Sandburg came to my mind as a good place to start, but although I was very familiar with his name, poetry, and house in North Carolina, I suddenly realized that I had not even scratched the surface. After some dabbling on the Internet, I found Carl Sandburg to be—well, a very complicated man.
Really, he wasn’t exactly complicated. A better word would be “busy.” Carl Sandburg was busy from the time he was a young boy. Throughout his teen years, he had more than half a dozen different types of jobs, from driving a milk wagon to heaving coal to being a hotel porter. Neither the military or college stayed with him very long. But one thing did—for the rest of his life. Carl Sandburg always had the proverbial pen in his hand.
We know him as a poet. But did you also know he authored winsome children’s stories, and even a biography of Abraham Lincoln? Regardless of what he wrote, the public loved it. He won three Pulitzer Prizes and published countless works. Later he was even asked to address Congress—one of the only poets to be given this honor.
But there’s more to this man than his poems. I have the privilege of living only about an hour from his home. I have visited the property several times and even participated in the Carl Sandburg Poetry Contest. (I mentioned this in my post A Poem: Proud to Be Armenian) The house he spent the majority of his later life in is a sprawling white building perched on the side of a hill, bright against the backdrop of the woods. This was Connemara, the house Carl and his wife “Paula” renovated to perfectly suit their needs. What needs, you ask? Farming, of course. Paula Sandburg farmed goats.
So I have seen a little more to this man than many have. I have walked through his house, surveying his wife’s neat kitchen and his cluttered office. I have hiked the woods he knew well, and petted the descendants of his wife’s famous goats. I have read his poems, and even placed in a poetry contest dedicated to him. From the pictures I imagine him to be a careless, blunt old man with mussed white hair and a genius mind. I thought him an author worth remembering, so I decided to share him with you.