The main idea in Carl Sandburg's poem "Chicago" is the celebration of America's vitality, especially the city of Chicago. The poem was written by Sandburg when he moved to Chicago in the summer of 1913.
In the poem, Sandburg paints a complete picture of Chicago, proclaiming its virtues and its vices. Chicago is described by Sandburg as the "City of the Big Shoulders," giving a vibrant and pleasing image of the complex city life. He acknowledges Chicago's dark side, yet narrates it as part of what makes the city special. "Chicago" is known as one of the best poems of the 20th century American literature, and it was first published in Poetry magazine in March 1914.