HONEY AND SALT by Carl Sandburg


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If a great library were ever to personalize itself and give vent to its feelings, it would write poetry and criticism very like that of T.S. Eliot. If a cracker-barrel, a spitoon, wants-ads, newspaper editorials work songs, spooning, smoke-steel and cornhuskers were to find voice in one utterance that utterance would be Carl Sandburg's. He is the apotheosis of ragbag populism, the same as Eliot is that of culture and civilization. For those who prefer the former to the latter, Honey and Salt, octogenarian Sandburg's latest collection of verse, should prove a flag waving event. What can be said about it is only what has already been said, except that these pieces are reflective of Sandburg's Elder Muse-ing style and are concerned largely with love, both the romantic and democratic variety. There are long poems and four-liners, some sad, a few tart, almost all imagistic in technique, in temper and affirmative in spirit; there are extended excursions in an historical form, of the Chicago Renaissance school, though mostly without the Whitmanesque organ grinding (as in The People, Yes); some even attempt the fabled, folksy Old Master tone of Robert Frost or the dramatic of Stephen Crane. Generally, more private than public, the poems, in one muted shape or another, still embody the American credo, a humanism. Almon Little Word and the monumental Timesweep are tops. As symptomatic of Sandburg's fame, recently he wrote, amidst photos and ads, the Life testimonial to Marilyn Monroe. And that, too, was an event.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1962
ISBN: 0156421658
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World