Poet Carl Sandburg was born into a poor family in Galesburg, Illinois. In his youth, he worked many odd jobs before serving in the 6th Illinois Infantry in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. He studied at Lombard College, and then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he worked as an organizer for the Socialist Democratic Party from 1910 to 1912.
The Wikipedia article on Carl Sandburg has an expanded description of his life and works.
Many are familiar with his poem Chicago. One of my favorite Carl Sandburg poems is this possibly less familiar one...
I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tellCarl Sandburg (1878–1967).
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I
was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their
women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.
From his collection Chicago Poems 1916.