When the words and ideas move from the head to the heart
into those places where ideas and emotions are real, that's
when a film is really having an effect and that's what
I'm hoping to do with [The Day Carl Sandburg Died].
~ Filmmaker Paul Bonesteel*
The life and work of poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who also was a biographer, journalist, novelist, autobiographer, collector of folk songs, and more, is the subject of a new feature-length documentary The Day Carl Sandburg Died (Bonesteel Films).
The film, which was shown twice, on January 6 and 7, at the Poetry Foundation, in Chicago, Illinois, as part of the foundation's centennial celebration of Poetry Magazine, and will be screened February 18 at the National Arts & Crafts Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, includes interviews with family and those who knew Sandburg, were influenced by him, or have studied, read, and performed his work (Ted Kooser, Pete Seeger, and Studs Terkel among them), as well as archival film clips and footage from television appearances (he was on the Ed Sullivan Show and What's My Line?). (Go here to see cast.) It is an attempt to tell the story of a multi-faceted, fully engaged, even complicated man. Sandburg's poetry is part of that story.
Immediately below is the brief trailer for the film, directed by Paul Bonesteel, whose other documentaries included The Great American Quilt Revival (2005). Bonesteel has presented The Day Carl Sandburg Died at a number of venues, including Black Earth Film Festival, Galesburg, Illinois; the University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana; Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Aperture Cinema, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Southern Appalachian International Film Festival. The documentary, which took a half-dozen years to make, premiered in April 2011 at RiverRun International Film Festival, Winston-Salem (see 2011 archive for film's screening here).
The Day Carl Sandburg Died documentary film trailer from Bonesteel Films on Vimeo.
* Quoted from "An Interview with Paul Bonesteel, the Film's Director" (You'll find a Director's Statement at the end of the Q&A.)
Also Of Interest
The Day Carl Sandburg Died on FaceBook
Film Blog (You'll find brief but interesting posts here about the film's initial conception and production, including on-location shooting in Galesburg, Illinois, and about people involved in or interviewed for the film, including poet Yvgeny Yevtushenko and Sandburg's wife Paula and his daughter Helga Sandburg Crile. In some cases video with the interviewees are included with the posts. You'll find a list of film-related videos here.)
Carl Sandburg State Historic Site, Galesburg, Illinois
The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, National Park Service, Flat Rock, North Carolina
Carl Sandburg Profiles at Poets.org (Academy of American Poets), Modern American Poetry, and Poetry Foundation
Carl Sandburg Research Website for Sandburg Studies
Carl Sandburg's Chicago Poems
The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Rev. Ed., 1970) at Amazon
Justin Souther, "The Underdog Poet", Mountain Xpress, April 26, 2011 (This article looks at the making of the film.)
John R. Pulliam, "Documenting Sandburg", Galesburg - The Register-Mail, June 17, 2009
Ted McIrvine, "Goat-less Perspective on Carl Sandburg", BlueRidgeNow Times-News, November 4, 2007 (This article discusses a symposium on Sandburg, "Carl Sandburg: Modern Perspectives and Criticisms".)
Kathryn N. Benzel, "Prayers for the People - Carl Sandburg's Poetry and Songs", Prairie Fire, October 2007
Zoe Keating (Keating, a cellist, scored the film.)
Penelope Niven, Biographer; Author of Carl Sandburg: A Biography (Scribner's, 1991) (The book is available through resellers.)
Video, "Carl Sandburg: Moderninst?", April 2007 Symposium, The New York Institute