Robert Service: Under the Spell of the Yukon
Dressed in cowboy garb acquired in a Scottish auction room, a naive but committed young Robert Service stepped off the CPR train in Vancouver, sustained only by his sense of adventure. Sixteen years later, he would leave Canada as the author of the most commercially successful poems written in the 20th century. Service's time in the Yukon, at first as a transplanted bank clerk and later living off the royalties of poems like "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", is the core of a fascinating life. Starving in Mexico, residing in a California bordello, farming on Vancouver Island and pursuing unrequited love in Vancouver were only preludes to his Yukon years and his first poems. Words were Robert Service's lifelong passion, and he set them on many stages. But it was his McGrew, McGee and other players of the Great White North who glittered with a golden glow and forever made him the "Bard of the Yukon" and the de facto poet laureate of Alaska. This book sheds light on aspects of Service's life that have been sketchily covered by other biographers, focusing on his years in Canada and the western U.S. 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of "Songs of a Sourdough", which sold over three million copies and was the most successful poetry book of the 20th century.
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The Yukon Years
After the Yukon
Family of Robert Service Sr and Emily Parker
adventure Alberta Archives Arctic arrived Athabasca autobiography Ballads Bank of Commerce became boat boys brother cabin Canada Canadian canoe Captain Chilkoot Connie Corfield Cowichan Cremation dance Dawson City Dodd Mead Douglas Dream Haven Edmonton Emily farm France friends Germaine and Iris Glasgow Harold Tylor Harper of Heaven head horses Ibid Jake Klondike knew Lake Lake Bennett Lake Laberge land later Laura Berton living loved Mackenzie Mackenzie River MacLean Mannville married Martha Black McGee McGrew McTosh Moon mountains moved never NewYork night North novel Peter Pierre Berton Ploughman poem poet poetry prairie prospectors published Rhymes Robert Service Rolling Stone scow Service family Service wrote Service's Skagway Songs Sourdough Star story Tagish Tagish Lake told took Toronto Toronto Daily Star Trail of 98 train trip Vancouver verse Victoria walked wanted White Horse Rapids White Pass Whitehorse winter writing Yukon River