Poet of Common People: Remembering Carl Sandburg
by Michael Escoubas

Critics didn’t like you at first. Your lines,
like those of Whitman, defied decorum,
eschewed the dainty cadences taken
for granted at the time–as if that weren’t
enough, you took a liking to ditchdiggers,
and tramps, to Gypsies and prostitutes, to
the stench of Chicago’s stockyards. When you
set out to find the meaning of happiness,
the ripest scholars did not know, but when
you saw a crowd of Hungarians frolicking
with a keg of beer and an accordion–
you knew about happiness–and because
of you, the world came to know that the best
poetry is found where poets least expect.


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