10th, 1879 in Springfield
. The Lindsay's were devout Cambellites
whose emphasis was individual spiritual life, education, missionary role of American democracy
, and the hope for a nondenominational Chrisian church
Lindsay consecrated himself to a lifelong project of spreading what he called "the gospel of beauty" devoted to the redemption of mankind through art.
He believed art starts "with a vision, with a beautiful idealization of the thing you see."
His tendency to idealize women, combined with his father's stern warnings against sex, contributed to his tendency to form one-sided romantic attachments that failed to develop.
His wandering began on a journey for Florida in March 1906. Starting from Jacksonville, he walked through Georgia, the Carolinas, kentucky, and home to Springfield. To pay his way, he gave recitals, lectures, and sold copies of his poems. On the night of September 4th he had a vision of Christ singing in Heaven.
On April, 21st 1907 Lindsay left New York and set out on foot to Springfield. he lectured on race at the YMCA after witnessing race riots in Springfield.
On May,29th 1912 Lindsay set out planning to walk to Los Angeles, then to Seattle, and back to Springfield. He abandoned his plan in New Mexico and took a train to Los Angeles, where he spent a month writing "General William Booth Enters into Heaven," a tribute to the founder of the Salvation Army. The poem celebrates, with vulgar pietism, Booth's militant Christiantiy in hectic rhythms derived from the hymn "The Blood of the Lamb."
"The Congo" was inspired by a sermon preached in October 1913 that detailed the drowning of a missionary in the Congo river. Linsay's recitations were the basis of his fame. he would rock on his feet and pump his arms as he shouted and sang his poems.
His other works include "The Chinese Nightingale," "The Santa Fe Trail" (which includes a blaring chorus of automobile horns), and "The Kallyope Yell."
"I persuaded the tired businessman to listen at last. Bt lo, my tiny reputation as a writer seemed wiped out by a new reputation as an entertainer." -Nicholas Vachel Lindsay
In Februrary 1915, Lindsay recited before Woodrow Wilson's cabinet. He received the Levinson prize for "The Chinese Nightingale." He also became the first Poet Laureate of the United Sates and noted as the most influential poet of the Americas. At this time he dropped "Nicholas" from his name and is more commonly known as Vachel Lindsay. His book, published "The Art of the Moving Picture", closes with a prediction of an American millennium ushered in by movies.
In June 1924, Lindsay was diagnosed as epileptic. In July 1924, he moved to Spokane, Washington where he married Elizabeth Conner, a 23-year-old high school teacher. He soon suffered from paranoid delusions and spurred by resentment towards his audiences, Lindsay had sudden outbursts of rage at public functions.
His final years gave way to delusions of persecution and unfounded suspicions of his wife's infidelity. He threatened his wife and children with violence. On December 5ht, 1931 he committed suicide at home by drinking Lysol. His doctor decided that Lindsay's death should be reported as heart failure, and it was announced as such in the Springfield paper.