Portrait Gallery

This Week Magazine

September 18, 1960

Push-ups and poetry

At 82. Carl Sandburg has a unique way for staying young

Sandburg learned his “Bill Miller” exercises in Spanish-American War …
and has done them faithfully every morning since.
Photos by William A. Smith.

The young-old face of poet-historian Carl Sandburg, with its impish, small-boy look under snowy locks, has intrigued many American artists. Two recent attempts to capture the spirit of this lively octogenarian (Sandburg celebrated his 82nd birthday last January) are a bust on which work is in progress by sculptress Fingal Rosenquist. (see page 2.)

The poet, in artist Smith's studio in Bucks County, Pa.

and a portrait started by painter William A. Smith (see below). During a break in his sitting with Smith, Sandburg demonstrated his astonishing vigor by doing push-ups from a chair. The push-ups are part of what he calls his “Little Bill Miller” exercises, which he learned during the Spanish-American War.

Sandburg makes no claim that daily push-ups will keep you young, but in his case at least they have preserved a youthful spring in his body. Besides, youth is a matter of mind and spirit, too, and Sandburg does remarkably well on that score. His newest book, appearing this fall, is a collection of poems for children, “Wind Song.” By stretching mind and muscle through push-ups and poetry, Sandburg has discovered his own formula for enduring youth.

THIS WEEK MAGAZINE. / September 18, 1960

Push-ups and poetry, This Week Magazine, September 18, 1960, Page 26 — The Washington Evening Star.