North America / Pic of the Week / Western Canada / Yukon

“Pic of the Week”, October 11, 2019: Robert W Service, the Bard of the North

01 Whitehorse Street Art (32)

While I love reading whenever I find the time, I’ve never been much of a fan of poetry, with two exceptions — the writing of Rudyard Kipling and (the man featured in today’s Pic of the Day) Robert W. Service.

Robert Service was born in England and began writing poems as a child, dreaming of a life of exploration and adventure, and of one day being a cowboy in Western Canada.  He emigrated to Canada in 1895, although he never became a cowboy.

Service is well know to Canadians because of his writing about life in Canada’s Yukon territory during the Klondike Goldrush.  He moved to the Yukon during this colorful period in history and loved the characters he met and heard about, which formed the nidus of the his colorful writing.

He is best known for humorous poems like “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907 – still popular to this day and with over 3 million copies sold, the most popular book of poetry published in the 20th century). 

Todays Pic of the Week is from Whitehorse, where this memorial to Robert Service is on display in downtown.

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