In his lifetime, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and poet Carl Sandburg tried many vocations: riding the rails, serving in the 6th Infantry Regiment during the Spanish-American War, news reporter, magazine editor, Abraham Lincoln biographer, civil rights advocate, children’s author, International United Poets Laureate — the list keeps going.
Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Ill., in 1878. Much of his early career was spent near Chicago, where he penned several volumes of poetry, children’s stories, songs and his first two books on Lincoln. With his wife, Lilian, and daughters, Sandburg relocated to Flat Rock in 1945. There at Connemara — a farm named for a district in Western Ireland — the writer produced more than a third of his total published work.
Sandburg in September is a month-long series that celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service, while also bringing greater attention to the life and times of the writer. “We really want to put Carl Sandburg on the map,” says Nancy Pew, president of the board of directors of the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara.
“I think a lot of people think we’re just regional,” she says of the Sandburg home. “We may not be the Grand Tetons, but we have 90,000 visitors a year.”
Upcoming events include the bi-annual Centennial & Hobo Ball, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Mountain Lodge & Conference Center (42 McMurray Road, Flat Rock). The festivities include food, music and auctions. Tickets are $100 per person, with proceeds going to the Friends of Carl Sandburg.
The film The Day Carl Sandburg Died screens Monday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. at the Flat Rock Cinema (2700 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock). The full-length documentary was produced by local filmmaker Paul Bonesteel and looks at the political and social events that shaped Sandburg’s work. Tickets are $8.
Jonga Java (117 S. Main St., Hendersonville) hosts a spoken-word performance poetry show featuring Moody Black and Crew, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m.
The weeklong Seasons of Sandburg is a showcase of art inspired by the writer and his home. It opens on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m., at The Studios at Flat Rock (Singleton Centre, 2702A Greenville Highway). Free to the public, it includes a dozen local artists working in photography, fiber art, mixed media, pastels and more. A portion of the proceeds from the art sale go to the Friends of Carl Sandburg.
The Children’s Hobo Day at the historic 7th Ave. Train Depot (650 Maple St., Hendersonville) is a free event that involves goats, crafts and storytelling. It takes place on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m. “The kids are going to learn how to make a guitar out of a shoebox,” says Pew. “We also have a member who’s discovered the ancient art of making hobo nickels.”
Conductor David Nagler will lead a live orchestra for “Sandburg Sonata.” The concert begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown (125 S. Main St., Hendersonville). Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 693-0731.
“Books and Brunch” — jazz music, dining and a Sandburg family vintage book sale — concludes Sandburg in September at the Green Room Cafe (536 N. Main St., Hendersonville) on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 10 a.m.
The month of activities to commemorate and carry on the work of the writer is fitting: Pew considers Sandburg’s writings to be as relevant today as when he first published them. “I think he speaks to anybody who might be suffering,” she says. The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame appears to agree. The organization will induct Sandburg into its museum, along with fellow North Carolina-based authors Clyde Edgerton and Margaret Maron during a ceremony at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines on Sunday, Oct. 16. Learn more at nclhof.org.
For additional information on the events, visit avl.mx/2y9