Carl Sandburg Quotes

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Carl Sandburg

Sandburg in 1955
Born Carl August Sandburg[1]
(1878-01-06)January 6, 1878
Galesburg, Illinois, U.S.
Died July 22, 1967(1967-07-22) (aged 89)
Flat Rock, North Carolina, U.S.
Occupation Journalist, author
Nationality American
Ethnicity Swedish
Alma mater Lombard College (non-graduate)
Notable works

Chicago Poems
The People, Yes
Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years
Rootabaga Stories

Notable awards

Pulitzer Prize (1919, 1940, 1951)
Robert Frost Medal (1952)

Spouse Lilian Steichen
Children Margaret, Helga, and Janet
Military career
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1898
Rank Private
Unit Company C, 6th Illinois Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars Spanish–American War

One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.
Carl Sandburg
A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake.
Carl Sandburg
I knew I would read all kinds of books and try to get at what it is that makes good writers good. But I made no promises that I would write books a lot of people would like to read.
Carl Sandburg
I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it.
Carl Sandburg
We don't have to think up a title till we get the doggone book written.
Carl Sandburg
Love your neighbor as yourself; but don't take down the fence.
When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.
Carl Sandburg
I have in later years taken to Euclid, Whitehead, Bertrand Russell, in an elemental way.
Carl Sandburg
Nothing happens unless first we dream.
I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, so live not in your yesterdays, no just for tomorrow, but in the here and now. Keep moving and forget the post mortems; and remember, no one can get the jump on the future.
Carl Sandburg
Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.
Carl Sandburg
I stayed away from mathematics not so much because I knew it would be hard work as because of the amount of time I knew it would take, hours spent in a field where I was not a natural.
Carl Sandburg
Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen.
Carl Sandburg
Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
We read Robert Browning's poetry. Here we needed no guidance from the professor: the poems themselves were enough.
Carl Sandburg
Let the gentle bush dig its root deep and spread upward to split one boulder.
Carl Sandburg
I couldn't see myself filling some definite niche in what is called a career. This was all misty.
Carl Sandburg
The greatest cunning is to have none at all.
When I was writing pretty poor poetry, this girl with midnight black hair told me to go on.
Carl Sandburg
I have often wondered what it is an old building can do to you when you happen to know a little about things that went on long ago in that building.
Carl Sandburg
Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.
Carl Sandburg
All politicians should have 3 hats – one to throw into the ring, one to talk through, and one to pull rabbits out of if elected.
Carl Sandburg
I have become infected, now that I see how beautifully a book is coming out of all this.
Carl Sandburg
Ordering a man to write a poem is like commanding a pregnant woman to give birth to a red-headed child.
Carl Sandburg
I had been keeping an off eye on the advertising field, thinking I might become an idea man and a copywriter.
Carl Sandburg
The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.
Strange things blow in through my window on the wings of the night wind and I don't worry about my destiny.
Carl Sandburg
I won't take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth.
Carl Sandburg
There was always the consolation that if I didn't like what I wrote I could throw it away or burn it.
Carl Sandburg
Shame is the feeling you have when you agree with the woman who loves you that you are the man she thinks you are.
Carl Sandburg
In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.
Carl Sandburg
Anger is the most impotent of passions. It effects nothing it goes about, and hurts the one who is possessed by it more than the one against whom it is directed.
Carl Sandburg
We had two grand antique professors who had been teaching at Lombard since before I was born.
Carl Sandburg
Often I look back and see that I had been many kinds of a fool-and that I had been happy in being this or that kind of fool.
Carl Sandburg
The sea speaks a language polite people never repeat. It is a colossal scavenger slang and has no respect.
Carl Sandburg
To work hard, to live hard, to die hard, and then go to hell after all would be too damn hard.
Carl Sandburg
Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.
Carl Sandburg
There have been as many varieties of socialists as there are wild birds that fly in the woods and sometimes go up and on through the clouds.
Carl Sandburg
Here is the difference between Dante, Milton, and me. They wrote about hell and never saw the place. I wrote about Chicago after looking the town over for years and years.
Carl Sandburg
I am an idealist. I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way.
Carl Sandburg
Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure whether they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes.
Carl Sandburg
A book is never a masterpiece: it becomes one. Genius is the talent of a dead man.
Carl Sandburg
Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.
I took to wearing a black tie known as the Ascot, with long drooping ends. I had seen pictures of painters, sculptors, poets, wearing this style of tie.
Carl Sandburg
My room for books and study or for sitting and thinking about nothing in particular to see what would happen was at the end of a hall.
Carl Sandburg
The scholars and poets of an earlier time can be read only with a dictionary to help.
Carl Sandburg
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and you can look out of the window and see the blue sky – or the answer is wrong and you have to start over and try again and see how it comes out this time.
Carl Sandburg
Calling it off comes easy enough if you haven't told the girl you are smitten with her.
Carl Sandburg
I learned you can't trust the judgment of good friends.
A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.
I can remember only a few of the strange and curious words now dead but living and spoken by the English people a thousand years ago.
Carl Sandburg
A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.
Carl Sandburg
Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come.
I make it clear why I write as I do and why other poets write as they do. After hundreds of experiments I decided to go my own way in style and see what would happen.
Carl Sandburg
I fell in love, not deep, but I fell several times and then fell out.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Carl Sandburg
All human actions are equivalent… and all are on principle doomed to failure.
Carl Sandburg
I have always felt that a woman has the right to treat the subject of her age with ambiguity until, perhaps, she passes into the realm of over ninety. Then it is better she be candid with herself and with the world.
Carl Sandburg
Where was I going? I puzzled and wondered about it til I actually enjoyed the puzzlement and wondering.
Carl Sandburg
I'm either going to be a writer or a bum.
Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.
Carl Sandburg
Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.
I had taken a course in Ethics. I read a thick textbook, heard the class discussions and came out of it saying I hadn't learned a thing I didn't know before about morals and what is right or wrong in human conduct.
Carl Sandburg
The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.
Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.
Carl Sandburg
There are 10 men in me and I do not know or understand one of them.
I doubt if you can have a truly wild party without liquor.
I decided I would go to Chicago and try my luck as a writer after those eight months as a fireman.
Carl Sandburg
To be a good loser is to learn how to win.
I've written some poetry I don't understand myself.
You remember some bedrooms you have slept in. There are bedrooms you like to remember and others you would like to forget.
Carl Sandburg
I wrote poems in my corner of the Brooks Street station. I sent them to two editors who rejected them right off. I read those letters of rejection years later and I agreed with those editors.
Carl Sandburg
Every blunder behind us is giving a cheer for us, and only for those who were willing to fail are the dangers and splendors of life.
Carl Sandburg
There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.
Carl Sandburg