Jan. 6, 1999

The Hangman at Home

by Carl Sandburg


Poem: "The Hangman at Home," by Carl Sandburg, from THE COMPLETE POEMS OF CARL SANDBURG (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich).

It's the birthday of JOAN OF ARC, born in Domremy, northeastern France, 1412. When she was 17 years old she claimed to hear the voice of a saint urging her to battle. She took up arms and over the next year drove the English out of French cities in a series of battles during the 100 Year's War. She was burned at the stake at the age of 19.

It's the birthday of statesman and abolitionist CHARLES SUMNER, born in Boston, 1811. Sumner was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1851 and helped organize the Republican party three years later. He was an eloquent opponent of slavery in Washington, and said: "Where slavery is, there liberty cannot be; and where liberty is, there slavery cannot be."

CARL SANDBURG was born on this day in Galesburg, western Illinois, 1878. Sandburg worked all around the Midwest in his early years. In 1913 he moved to Chicago and got a job as an editor at a business magazine, then later joined the Chicago Daily News. Around that same time his poems started coming out in Poetry magazine, including his most famous one "Chicago" ("Hog-butcher, tool-maker, stacker of Wheat, player with railroads, and freight-handler to the nation."). He wrote children's books, biographies of Lincoln, as well as novels and over 100 poems. He won the Pulitzer Prize three times.

It's the birthday of novelist WRIGHT MARION MORRIS, born on the Platte River, in Central City, eastern Nebraska, 1910, author of The Field of Vision, Ceremony in Lone Tree and other novels about life in small Midwestern towns.

It's the birthday of bluegrass banjo player EUGENE "EARL" SCRUGGS, Flint Hill, North Carolina, 1924, one half of the duo Flatt and Scruggs, who fronted the band "The Foggy Mountain Boys," the group at the heart of the 1950s and '60s Bluegrass revival.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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