'Style' by Carl Sandburg

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Style--go ahead talking about style.
You can tell where a man gets his style justas you can tell where Pavlowa got her legsor Ty Cobb his batting eye.Go on talking.
Only don't take my style away.It's my face.Maybe no goodbut anyway, my face.
I talk with it, I sing with it, I see, taste and feel with it,I know why I want to keep it.Kill my styleand you break Pavlowa's legs,and you blind Ty Cobb's batting eye.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Poetry, Style by Carl Sandburg: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Poetry, Style is a collection of poems by the American poet Carl Sandburg, published in 1936. The collection consists of 88 poems that cover a wide range of themes, including love, nature, politics, and war. Sandburg's unique style and use of free verse make Poetry, Style a must-read for any poetry lover.

The Style of Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg is known for his unique style that combines free verse with colloquial language. His poems are often written in a conversational tone, making them accessible to a wide range of readers. Sandburg uses concrete images and vivid descriptions to create a sense of place and time in his poems.

One of the most striking features of Sandburg's style is his use of repetition. He often repeats phrases, words, or entire lines, creating a sense of rhythm and musicality in his poems. For example, in the poem "Chicago," he repeats the phrase "hog butcher for the world" several times, emphasizing the city's importance as a center of meatpacking.

Another aspect of Sandburg's style is his use of unconventional line breaks. He often breaks lines in the middle of phrases or sentences, creating a sense of fragmentation and disjunction. This technique adds to the musicality of his poems and emphasizes the importance of each individual word.

Themes in Poetry, Style

One of the main themes of Poetry, Style is the relationship between humans and nature. Sandburg often portrays nature as a powerful force that can both nourish and destroy. In the poem "Prairie," he describes the vastness and beauty of the American Midwest, but also acknowledges the harshness and unpredictability of its climate.

Another theme in Poetry, Style is the struggle for social and political justice. Sandburg was a committed socialist and often wrote about the struggles of working-class people. In the poem "Masses," he describes the power of the people to rise up and demand change:

They shall know how to organize
A mass of men marching together
They shall know how to spread
The red banners of the morning
And the green banners of the spring

Sandburg also writes about love and relationships in Poetry, Style. His poems often portray love as a complex and difficult emotion, full of both joy and pain. In the poem "Fog," he uses the image of a foggy night to describe the confusion and uncertainty of a relationship:

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Interpretation of Poetry, Style

One of the most striking aspects of Poetry, Style is Sandburg's ability to capture the essence of a place or a moment in time. His poems are full of vivid descriptions and concrete images that bring the reader into the world of the poem. For example, in the poem "Chicago," Sandburg describes the city as

Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the big shoulders

These lines convey both the physicality of the city and its rough, working-class spirit.

Another interpretation of Poetry, Style is that Sandburg uses his poems to comment on the social and political issues of his time. Many of his poems are explicitly political, calling for social and economic justice for the working class. In the poem "Limited," he describes the frustration of a worker trying to make ends meet:

I am riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains
of the nation.
Hurtling across the prairie into blue haze and dark air
go fifteen all-steel coaches holding a thousand people.

Sandburg's use of the image of a train emphasizes the speed and urgency of modern life, while the idea of a "limited express" suggests the limitations placed on working-class people.

Overall, Poetry, Style is a powerful collection of poems that captures both the beauty and the struggles of life. Sandburg's unique style and commitment to social justice make this collection a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Carl Sandburg is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, and his classic poetry style is still revered today. His works are known for their simplicity, honesty, and accessibility, and they continue to inspire readers and writers alike. In this analysis, we will explore the key elements of Sandburg's classic poetry style, and examine how he used them to create some of the most memorable and enduring poems of his time.

One of the defining characteristics of Sandburg's classic poetry style is his use of free verse. Unlike traditional poetry, which is often characterized by strict meter and rhyme schemes, Sandburg's poems are free-flowing and unstructured. This allows him to experiment with language and form, and to create a more natural and conversational tone. In his poem "Chicago," for example, Sandburg uses free verse to capture the energy and vitality of the city:

"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"

Here, Sandburg's use of free verse allows him to create a sense of movement and rhythm that mirrors the bustling energy of Chicago. The lack of strict meter and rhyme also gives the poem a more casual and conversational tone, as if the speaker is simply describing the city to a friend.

Another key element of Sandburg's classic poetry style is his use of imagery. Sandburg was a master of using vivid and evocative language to create powerful images in the minds of his readers. In "Fog," for example, he uses imagery to capture the eerie and mysterious nature of the fog:

"The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on."

Here, Sandburg's use of imagery creates a sense of the fog as a living, breathing creature, moving silently through the city. The image of the fog "sitting" on its "haunches" is particularly striking, as it suggests a sense of watchfulness and intelligence that is both eerie and captivating.

Sandburg's classic poetry style is also characterized by his use of repetition. He often repeats certain words or phrases throughout a poem, creating a sense of rhythm and emphasis. In "Chicago," for example, he repeats the phrase "City of the Big Shoulders" several times, emphasizing the strength and resilience of the city:

"Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning. Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities; Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness, Bareheaded, Shoveling, Wrecking, Planning, Building, breaking, rebuilding, white teeth, man laughs, Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle, Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people, Laughing!"

Here, Sandburg's repetition of "City of the Big Shoulders" emphasizes the pride and strength of the city, and creates a sense of momentum and energy that drives the poem forward.

Finally, Sandburg's classic poetry style is characterized by his use of everyday language. He often uses simple, direct language to convey complex ideas and emotions, making his poems accessible to a wide range of readers. In "Grass," for example, he uses simple language to convey the horror and tragedy of war:

"Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. Shovel them under and let me work— I am the grass; I cover all."

Here, Sandburg's use of everyday language creates a sense of immediacy and urgency, as if the speaker is speaking directly to the reader. The image of the grass covering the bodies of the dead is both haunting and powerful, and it speaks to the senseless tragedy of war in a way that is both simple and profound.

In conclusion, Carl Sandburg's classic poetry style is characterized by his use of free verse, imagery, repetition, and everyday language. These elements allow him to create poems that are both accessible and powerful, and that continue to inspire readers and writers today. Whether he is capturing the energy of a city, the mystery of the fog, or the horror of war, Sandburg's classic poetry style is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to capture the human experience in all its complexity and beauty.

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