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In this article folklorist Edward D. Ives traces the life and work of journeyman-poet John Mitchell, who moved from job to job in northern Maine at the beginning of the twentieth century. Ives uses oral history and a few extant poems to give us a glimpse at the life of the common laborer on the raw northern Maine frontier. Mitchell was a wanderer, but he knew the world of the ordinary working man from the inside out, and his poems express the hopes, fears, humor and irony of daily life as he saw it. “Sandy” Ives is professor emeritus from the University of Maine, where he taught folklore and oral history and served as director of the Maine Folklife Center. Among his many published works on rural Maine life are Fleetwood Pride, 1864-1960: The Autobiography of a Maine Woodsman (1968); Joe Scott, The Woodsman-Song- Maker (1978), and George Magoon and The Down East Game War: History, Folklore, and the Law(1988).