chapter  19
Arturo Giovannitti
Pages 8

Two vivid phrases were introduced into the American language by events that took place in the first decades of the twentieth century. Though they were both inspired by the American left, they sprang from very different circumstances. "Bread and Roses" came from the grim mill town of Lawrence, Massachusetts, words written on a placard carried by young striking immigrant women workers during the bitter Lawrence textile strike of 1912. "Lyrical Left" came out of the mighty metropolis of the modern world, New York City. It described the buoyant bohemia that had been created in Greenwich Village, by artists, radicals, and intellectuals trying to resist the grasp of American Puritanism and to flee from the cultural restrictions of small-town America. The phrases expressed a common desire for a social transformation in America that would fulfill both economic and spiritual needs. The figure of Arturo Giovannittipoet, immigrant, socialist, editor, lover, Wobbly, labor organizer, womanizer, anarchist, orator/agitator-bridged these two different worlds in a unique and compelling fashion.