Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sandburg status debated...

On October 5th in Flat Rock, North Carolina three prominent humanities scholars presented research and opinions on Carl Sandburg in a symposium called “Carl Sandburg: Contemporary Perspectives and Criticisms”.

Symposium participants included famed American historian and author Dr. Sean Wilentz of Princeton University, Temple University professor Dr. Philip Yannella, the author of "The Other Carl Sandburg" and Dr. Evert Villarreal of The University of Texas-Pan American, who recently completed his doctorate dissertation entitled “Recovering Carl Sandburg: Politics, Poetry, and Prose after 1920.”

The presentations were lively with one prominent point of debate being the exact nature of Sandburg's poetry, was it 'modernism' or not? If it was why did it change? Was his poetry less successful for it's propagandistic qualities? And if so, what's wrong with that? How this perception effected Sandburg's literary legacy is undeniable... and central to the evolution of Sandburg's 'recovery' if that is indeed happening.

Villarreal, Yannella were joined by Sarah Perschall of the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and participated in a panel discussion that I led that provided further insight into Sandburg’s work and public perception from a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds.

Along with each scholar touring Sandburg's home and archives and we conducted extensive interviews with each scholar. These have contributed greatly to the development of our film. This is one of the many ways we are working towards the completion of film while also bringing interactive poetry events to the public. Look for movies to be posted soon.

Ted McIrvine for the Hendersonville newspaper wrote an interesting summary, take a look.

The event was sponsored by The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, a non-profit support group to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, with funding and support from the North Carolina Humanities Council, Blue Ridge Community College Division for Community Enrichment and Bonesteel Films.

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