Roberts is considered by many to be the dean of Canadian poetry. His English-Loyalist background and close contact with the untamed Canada of the Confederation combined to provide a rich source for his creative writing. A cousin of the writer Bliss Carman, Roberts was born in Douglas, New Brunswick. While pursuing a degree, Roberts began writing poetry. This early productivity yielded three books of verse. The first of these, Orion (1990), garnered the praise of Matthew Arnold (see Vol. 1). A prolific writer, Roberts was an outspoken supporter of Canadian literature; however, this did not prevent the Confederation poet from spending a sizable portion of his life in New York and later London (from 1895 to 1925). Apart from his influential poetry, with its presentation of divinely ordered nature, Roberts produced a highly successful series of animal stories, tales that portrayed the violence involved in survival and avoided the moral tone often associated with such works. Roberts also wrote several adult romances that invariably feature the English/French tension in eighteenth-century Canada. Roberts was knighted in 1935.