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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Robert William Service
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a poet and writer who has often been called "the Bard of the Yukon".

Service is best known for his poems "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907; also published as The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses). "These humorous tales in verse were considered doggerel by the literary set, yet remain extremely popular to this day." Songs of a Sourdough has sold more than three million copies, making it the most commercially successful book of poetry of the 20th century.

Life

Early Life

Robert W. Service was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, the first of ten children. His father, ... more »

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  • Rich Persoff (1/22/2014 6:46:00 PM)

    Interestingly enough, the ugly American was an unhandsome person who (as I remember from having read the book more than 40 years ago) was a particularly nice guy and did a lot for the local people. Unfortunate but understandable, that his nickname has become an epithet for the kind of person Mag describes, but whom he most decidedly was not!

  • Acupuncter Zen (6/20/2012 6:50:00 PM)

    Mag Uidhir: Actually, The Ugly American, is book, and even a movie which starred Marlon Brando. You in turn are sounding a bit of an ass by trying to school people in the obvious. Enjoy the poetry and save the pedantic for your epitaph.

  • Calico Jack (4/23/2012 10:47:00 AM)

    HAHA! Nice one Mag Uidhur. I cracked up reading your comment. Its about time somebody dropped some knowledge on the ignoramuses.

  • Mag Uidhir (4/21/2012 8:50:00 PM)

    Sara. I can only assume you are American. Have you ever heard the phrase Ugly American? It is a derogatory term for Americans who travel to foreign destinations and completely ignore the culture there, eat at McDonalds, drink Bud Lite then go home and tell their friends that Paris was boring because the only restaurant they could find was McDonalds. Ugly Americans also like to brag about how great they are and take credit for things that aren't theirs. Such is your statement that Robert Service was the most important AMERICAN storyteller of this century. You may be shocked by this but Service was born in England then emigrated to Canada where he became a CANADIAN cultural treasure. A short biography is on this site. Please read it.

  • Koena Mokoena (10/24/2011 3:08:00 AM)

    Hey yo! i am one of the young up & coming poet, who is trying to establish my career across the globe. Hence, i have friends in Pakistan, United Kingdom, Turkey, America & India. So, i want to thank you for advising me about my life, because i have obtain my peace of mind, due to your poem by the name of ' Home & love'. I finally understand the reason behind my challenges as a first born, because my Father doesn't have time to teach me. So, you have made my day with your creativity, because it sounds as if you saw it from the beginning...Have a nice day!

    Mr. Koena France Mokoena
    Country: South Africa
    Website: www.poemhunter.com/kfmproductions
    Contact number: +27710329734.

  • Babyjoram Benson (5/18/2009 5:51:00 AM)

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    and it really acttract me alot i believe that you are the man i
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  • Nelson Ferreira Alves (3/23/2008 11:22:00 AM)

    In you words have a so out mathematical way...so free and more free yet.

    The most beautiful poem i read for the last long searching days.

    Thank You

  • April Krygowski (8/11/2007 11:52:00 PM)

    I enjoyed an incredible cruise and land trip last week to Alaska. Our tour bus driver recited Robert Service poetry as he drove us into the Yukon! I was thirlled to see this poem of the day and read about Service, the 'Kipling of Canada.'- April Krygowski

  • Donald Reid (4/9/2007 4:12:00 PM)

    Robert W Service must be one of the great poets of his generation. Indeed I would suggest that his popularity is increasing, certainly here in Ayrshire, Scotland. I've attended several functions lately and been delighted to hear classics such as The Cremation of Sam McGee and The Spell of the Yukon. I spend many a happy night enjoying his wonderful poems.

  • Danuta Glendenning (3/23/2007 5:28:00 PM)

    This poem is simply brilliant in that it incorporates Science in the first verse, Hinduism in the second, and Buddhism in the third verse. I'm taking it to my Poetry class and will share it with other poetry lovers.

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