DRUM on your drums, batter on your banjoes, sob on the long cool winding saxophones. Go to it, O jazzmen.

Sling your knuckles on the bottoms of the happy tin pans, let your trombones ooze, and go hushahusha-hush with the slippery sand-paper.

Moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome tree-tops, moan soft like you wanted somebody terrible, cry like a racing car slipping away from a motorcycle cop, bang-bang! you jazzmen, bang altogether drums, traps, banjoes, horns, tin cans—make two people fight on the top of a stairway and scratch each other’s eyes in a clinch tumbling down the stairs.

Can the rough stuff … now a Mississippi steamboat pushes up the night river with a hoo-hoo-hoo-oo … and the green lanterns calling to the high soft stars … a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills … go to it, O jazzmen.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Carl Sandburg's poem Jazz Fantasia


  1. Mathieu says:

    Oh, no, you all got it wrong.
    He was making reference to the ascendency of Communists ifitrating the secret parts of our lives and society in a sometimes easy, and sometimes struggled thrust to overthow our bourgeoise stalemate of class struggles.
    Go to it, O jazzmen, is code language for, “seize the day, comrades.”

  2. Miter Banisderty says:

    i like america. jazz fantasia is america.

  3. John Rhoades says:

    As a teacher, I used this poem as an example of the way
    poets use “sound” words such as crash and bang. The poem, when read emphasizing the sounds, gives the rhythms and ‘noises’ of words imitating a jazz band creating the clashing sounds of civilization. My favorite word is “horns.” The resonance of the voice takes on the meaning of a musical instrument producing the sound of an automobile. We read it aloud and divide the class into two pitches when me come to that word (like ‘oogah’). But I think “Go to it O jazzmen means to the poet–“Do your creative thing.” It will mean something different to each reader as we bring our own experiences to the reading of any poem.

  4. masha says:

    I don’t understand this poem. What is the occasion of the poem,what can I paraphrase in this poem, who the speaker of this poem, what’s the simle or metaphore in this poem and the theme and message of this poem!!SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP!!!!!

  5. Amanda says:

    I love this poem! I am a member of my school’s jazz band, and have always been a huge fan of jazz. I think this poem does an incredible job of capturing the essence of jazz, of its mystery and excitement and the way the mood is constantly changing with each note, each rhythm, and each song.

  6. Brittani Webb says:

    This is a great poem and it is a tribute to jazz. I really like jazz and when I read this peom i ger very relaxed!!!!

  7. Hellen Sugar says:

    I love this poem! It rox my sox! LOL but still it’s a scream for fun and crazyness! It’s takes courage to have fun…

  8. Kenneth Coffee says:

    I think that the poem is very showing of how the poet feels and is using tone and speaker to show how life can be fun but you need to have a little fun in order to make it fun. I am only 15 years old and i still can tell that the poet wanted to tell about life in a different format that just coming out and saying it. I love this poem!!!

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