Service, Robert William
Robert William Service, poet, novelist (b at Preston, Eng 16 Jan 1874; d at Lancieux, France 11 Sept 1958). Educated in Scotland, Service worked in a bank after he left school. In 1894 he immigrated to Canada, where, after wandering from California to British Columbia, he joined the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He was stationed throughout British Columbia and eventually at Whitehorse and Dawson City. In 1907 he published his first collection of poems, Songs of a Sourdough
; an immediate success, it was followed by Ballads of a Cheechako
(1909) and Rhymes of a Rolling Stone
(1912). Poems such as "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" assured Service of lasting fame and gave rise to his nicknames: "the Canadian Kipling" and "the Poet of the Yukon." During WWI he was an ambulance driver, and after the war he travelled throughout Europe but lived mostly in France. His later works include Ballads of a Bohemian
(1921), Rhymes of a Roughneck
(1950) and his autobiographical works: Ploughman of the Moon
(1945) and Harper of Heaven
Cremation of Sam McGee
8-cent stamp commemorating "The Cremation of Sam McGee" (courtesy Canada Post Corp).
Poet Robert Service in front of his famous Dawson cabin (courtesy Martha Louise Black Collection/Yukon Archives).
Links to Other Sites
Robert W. Service
A selection of poems written by legendary poet Robert W. Service. From "Representative Poetry On-line," a University of Toronto website.