Michael McGovern

Michael McGovern

About Michael McGovern

Michael McGovern was born on a tiny farm in County Galway, Ireland, at the height of the Great Famine (1845-1849); He was a know in the United States as a working-class poet who gained national recognition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries especially after the publication of hos collecyion of poetry 'Labor Lyrics and Other Poems'. He also named himself as 'the Puddler Poet', and his work reflected his support of labor unions. He spent no more than 'a few months' in school (a cabin with an itinerant teacher), learned the history of Ireland and its ancient heroes from his parents and grandparents as he sat around the fireside at night in a house 'where books and newspapers were rarely seen'. That three roomed, thatched farmhouse, at Castlefield, Williamstown, stood close to the end of a ribbon of country road that spidered its way through a distant corner of the 29,000 acre estate of one of the country’s greatest aristocrat-landlords. The McGovern family were tenants living, at the will of that landlord, soldierand M.P., on 10 acres of his land. McGovern's poems fall into three basic categories: rolling mill rhymes, labor growls and miscellaneous trifles, and amorous verses 'to show that a rolling mill man has a heart as susceptible to the purest motives of love as those who have millions wherewith to purchase a title'. Some scholars have argued that McGovern's work, which features religious themes, shows the influence of the Social Gospel movement. This intellectual movement drew sharp connections between social justice causes and the teachings of the New Testament.
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