Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy birthday, poet Robert W. Service

Robert W. Service
It is the birthday of poet Robert W. Service (1874), whose verses about prospecting life during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s earned him the sobriquet the Bard of the Yukon.

Service, who was born in England, was a young banking employee in Canada when he was sent to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory in 1904. For years, Service had been writing verses for his own amusement. Social life in the town consisted of concerts in which people recited poems from memory. Such works as Rudyard Kipling's Gunga Din and Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat were popular.

One day the local newspaper editor suggested to Service that he write something for one of the evenings. Service had heard a miner from Dawson tell a gold rush tale about a prospector who cremated his friend. Service composed The Cremation of Sam McGee as he walked in the woods one evening and wrote it down from memory the next day. His friends loved it.

Later, after he had written enough poems for a book, he sent them to his father in Toronto to get them self-published. His father took the manuscript to a publisher, who produced a book and sent Service's printing money back, instead offering him a royalty. Songs of a Sourdough (1907) was an instant success.

Later is was published in the United States under the title The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses (1907). Sixteen volumes of Service's poetry were published during his lifetime. He also wrote six novels and two autobiographies. Here is a recording of Service reading The Cremation of Sam McGee. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP