From Illinois Authors
Pen Name: (Nicholas) Vachel Lindsay
Born: November 10, 1879 in Springfield, Illinois
Died: December 5, 1931
Celebrated on the Illinois State Library, Gwendolyn Brooks Building
"A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black, A famous high-top hat and plain worn shawl Make him the quaint great figure that men love, The prairie-lawyer, master of us all." -Vachel Lindsay, Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight (1914)
Vachel Lindsay was born and raised in Springfield. He graduated from Springfield High School. He moved from Spingfield to attend college and moved back in 1929. Lindsay is buried in Oakridge Cemetary in Springfield.
Biographical and Professional Information
Vachel Lindsay used his hometown of Springfield, Illinois as a base from which he launched a one-man campaign to reform American poetry and culture. His most original works were such poems as "General William Booth Enters into Heaven" and "Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan," which were strongly rhythmic chants about American heroes couched in colorful American colloquial speech. Such poetry was meant to express Lindsay's "Gospel of Beauty," an idealistic program to awaken Americans to art and learning.
The Vachel Lindsay House is located at 603 South Fifth Street in Springfield, Illinois. It is the site of Lindsay's birth and death. The site is open to the public Tues-Sat: 12-4:00pm. Lindsay's grave is in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.
- General William Booth Enters Heaven and Other Poems, 1913
- The Congo and Other Poems, Macmillan, 1914
- The Daniel Jazz and Other Poems, 1920
- Johnny Appleseed and Other Poems, Macmillan, 1928
- Every Soul Is a Circus, Macmillan, 1929
- Selected Poems of Vachel Lindsay, Macmillan, 1963
- Springfield Town Is Butterfly Town, and Other Poems for Children, Kent State, 1969
Titles for Purchase and at Your Library
In 1990, his name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures.
Awarded Illinois Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English in 1970.
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