His finest poetry was produced in these early years, appearing in In Divers Tones (1886) and Songs of the Common Day (1893), and he was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1890). Financial pressure forced him to turn his main attention to fiction. Then, in 1897, he moved to New York and subsequently lived apart from his wife and family. He wrote a number of novels and historical romances, but his most successful prose genre was the animal story, in which he drew upon his early experience in the wilds of the Maritimes. He published over a dozen such volumes between Earth's Enigmas (1896) and Eyes of the Wilderness (1933). In 1907 he left for Europe, where he continued to write, though interrupted by service in WWI. His return to Canada in 1925 led to a renewed production of verse with The Vagrant of Time (1927) and The Iceberg and Other Poems (1934). Roberts was a popular figure at this time. He lectured throughout Canada and in 1935 was knighted.
Roberts is remembered for creating in the animal story, along with Ernest Thompson SETON, the one native Canadian art form. His early descriptive and meditative poetry ("Tantramar Revisited,""The Potato Harvest,""The Sower") recreates his Maritimes years with vivid sensitivity. Although he never fulfilled his early poetic promise, he laid a foundation for future achievements in Canadian verse.
Author W.J. KEITH
J.C. Adams, Sir Charles God Damn: The Life of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts (1986); W.J. Keith, ed, Charles G.D. Roberts: Selected Poetry and Critical Prose (1974); C.G.D. Roberts, The Last Barrier, and Other Stories (1958) and King of Beasts, and Other Stories (1967).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Poetry Archive
Click on this page to view a website that offers an extensive collection of exemplary Canadian poetry and biographies of various Canadian poets. From Library and Archives Canada.
The Canadian Poetry Press
This site offers scholarly commentary on a wide range of Canadian poetry. Includes many poems by Canadian authors and information about the “Confederation poets”.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...