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by Carl Sandburg

Chicago Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"Chicago" is written in free verse. It doesn't have a rhyme scheme or any sort of regular meter, and it's not written in a recognizable form (like a sonnet or villanelle).Still, this doesn't mean t...


We don't know too much about the speaker—we don't even know the speaker's name or gender—but we are darn sure of one thing: the speaker loves Chicago. Like, really loves it. The speaker and Chi...


Surprise, surprise: "Chicago" is set… in Chicago. The entire poem is about this windy city, which the speaker spends a whole lot of time personifying. By the end of the poem, it actually seems th...

Sound Check

"Chicago" is a poem about a tough city, and it sounds like it's spoken by a tough guy as well. Just read that first stanza out loud: it's filled with short, heavy-sounding words that thump, thump,...

What's Up With the Title?

"Chicago" is a poem all about Chicago (no surprises there). The title is right on the nose. And we mean this almost-kind-of-literally. It alerts us to the fact that the poem is not just about Chica...

Calling Card

Our main man Carl really loved Chicago. He titled his first collection of poems Chicago Poems, and filled that baby full of poems about Chicago (including our poem du jour, "Chicago"). Sandburg is...


"Chicago" isn't too tough to read. There are no fancy turns of phrases or overly-complicated references in this one. And that's kind of the point. Chicago is a place for everyone: workers, families...


High School, Schmigh-School Sandburg didn't go to high school, but he did go to college. (Source.) Sandburg's brother-in-law was the influential photographer Edward Steichen. (Source)In his later y...

Steaminess Rating

The poem does tell us that there are "painted women" (i.e., prostitutes) hanging around Chicago. But it doesn't get more explicit than that, so this reference will probably fly for most folks.

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