portrait of Carl Sandburg
National Park Service photo (ca. 1920)

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Quotes of the Day for 6 January 2004 – Carl Sandburg

Carl August Sandburg was born at Galesburg, Illinois on this day in 1878. After eighth grade he spent a decade doing physical labor (harvesting ice, laying bricks, threshing wheat, etc.) before taking up the life of a hobo for a couple of years. When the Spanish American War broke out he volunteered and was sent to Cuba, where his only battles were with heat and mosquitoes. He returned to Galesburg and attended Lombard College, working as a fire fighter. It was at Lombard that he started writing poetry, and his first books were printed on the basement press of one of his professors. Before he was known for his poetry, he worked as a labor organizer and later as a reporter. Along with poetry, he wrote one novel, a two volume biography of Lincoln, his autobiography, and two volumes of folk songs. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for the second volume of the Lincoln biography, he won it again in 1951 for poetry.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.

Our lives are like a candle in the wind.

There are people who want to be everywhere at once, and they get nowhere.

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 have it when the next test comes.

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.

I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life, and as soon as I done it I seen it.
     - All from Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967

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