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Italian Immigrant Radical CultureThe Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940$
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Marcella Bencivenni

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791035

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791035.001.0001

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Arturo Giovannitti

Arturo Giovannitti

Poet and Prophet of Labor

(p.155) 6 Arturo Giovannitti
Italian Immigrant Radical Culture

Marcella Bencivenni

NYU Press

This chapter delves deeper into the sovversivi's poetry by discussing the figure and work of Giovannitti, one of the most charismatic figures of the Italian American Left, who gained national prominence as the leader of the famed 1912 Lawrence strike and as one of America's best poets. It attempts to bridge the political and “lyrical” sides of Giovannitti and re-situate his poems in the broad cultural context of the early American labor movement. It argues that Giovannitti's poetry blurs traditional distinctions between art and propaganda. His idealism, lyricism, and intense melancholia were never separated from his deeds, and his poetry was never exclusively expressive of his personal inner world. In fact, his political views formed not only the background of but also the impetus for his poetry.

Keywords:   Italian Americans, sovversivi, Italian American Left, radical poetry, Arturo Giovannitti, American labor movement

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