Chicago Poems is such an awesome piece of work. I can’t believe I’ve never read, or even really been exposed to it. Yes, it’s true, the self-proclaimed Chicago girl had never had exposure to this work before our class. I was really moved by the way Sandburg seems to draw a portrait of the city in motion and capture the spirit of Chicago. The opening poem is, of course, really awesome. It made me so happy and proud to be from Chicago. It doesn’t really faze me that there is so much exposure of injustice and rawness in the work; that is an integral part of Chicago. We are a city, like I said before, of underdogs. I also think that the frank discussion of the quality of life in the city at the time is great. Even though each poem is not specifically mentioning “Chicago,” the way the pieces all fit together makes a patchwork of our city as it existed and also as it exists. I don’t feel ashamed at the corruption; rather I feel empowered. The portrait that Sandburg creates, which is clearly of a past Chicago, is not really all that different from the city today. It made me want to go out and change things, and make an impact on the world.
I was reading this work when I took a trip to Murfreesboro, TN, and I loved the contrast it provided for my trip. The people I met in Tennessee were already amazed at my “northernness,” whatever that is, and I could feel the contrast of our ways of life so much as I read Chicago Poems. Sandburg does an excellent job of capturing the pace of the city, the fever pitch that we all have become so accustomed to experiencing. Reading that while trying to adjust to the slowness of the south was really interesting, because it made me realize just how different and special our city really is. The work captures something in our attitudes, our mannerisms, and our way of life that is different from anywhere else in the country. I think Sandburg really does the city justice, even if it is not always pretty all the time.