Friday, December 09, 2005


Galesburg Ill. November 2005

I love the feeling when you can sense the passage of time, what a century of years make.

The warm late fall weather betrayed the date. A few blocks away from the tiny shack Carl Sandburg was born in the trains come and go, making sounds that trains make. This is where his father toiled on steel, where Carl walked the tracks to school, delivered milk, newspapers and where his mother carried in water from the pump outside. Standing there, you can almost hear the Swedish words and accents coming from inside the house, smell the burning coal from the cooking stove that served as the only heat. This was not a place from which you'd expect a poet to emerge, but, once again, humanity surprises.

The Carl Sandburg birthplace is a State of Illinois Historic site, run by a lone employee, the director Steve Holden and assisted by a non-profit support group. It is filled with artifacts and photos, original books and a guitar. Our trip there was as much for inspiration as it was for research. We shot some images, talked with Steve, pitched our project the The Friends of Carl Sandburg group there in Galesburg and met two scholars from Knox College, an english professor, Robin Metz, and Rodney Davis of Knox College’s Lincoln Studies Center. Their input was reassuring to me that Sandburg the poet still has things to say, and that his Lincoln biographies still resonate today.

We will return at some point to conduct on-camera interviews and shoot additional footage and gather archival images.

Director Paul Bonesteel shooting Remembrance Rock, the resting place of the Sandburg's ashes

(photographs by Evan Schafer)

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