Peter McArthur

(10 March 1866 - 10 October 1924 / Ekfrid, Middlesex County)

Biography of Peter McArthur

Peter McArthur poet

Peter Gilchrist McArthur (March 10, 1866 - October 10, 1924) was a Canadian poet, writer, and farmer.

Life

McArthur was born in Ekfrid, in Middlesex County, Upper Canada (now Ontario), to Peter and Catherine (McLennan) McArthur, immigrants from Scotland. He was educated at Strathroy Collegiate Institute and later at University College, University of Toronto. While in university he contributed to Grip magazine, and in 1889 he left to become a reporter with the Toronto Daily Mail.

McArthur became assistant editor of Truth magazine in March 1895, and editor-in-cheif that August. As editor of Truth from 1895 to 1897, he published work by Roberts, Carman, Stephen Leacock, and Duncan Campbell Scott. (One of the poems McArthur published was ["The Piper of Arll" by Scott, which was read by a teenaged John Masefield and which awakened Masefield's interest in poetry.)

In September 1895 McArthur married Mabel C. Waters, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, who would bear him four sons and one daughter.

From 1902 to 1904 the McArthurs lived in London, England, where McArthur contributed to Punch and to the Review of Reviews. In 1904 they returned to New York, where McArthur became a partner in the publishing firm of McArthur and Ryder.

Writing

R.H. Hathaway: "Perhaps the first thing that strikes the reader of his poetry–and his prose as well, for the matter of that–is that it possesses that rare enough quality,–zest. Mr. McArthur is no mere æsthete, no lackadaisical dilettante, but is alive to his finger tips; and all his writings fairly tingle with life. The next thing one perceives is that a strong human feeling runs through his work. Mr. McArthur is above all things else a human being, and a lover of all things human. But he loves nature, too, and manages to get very close to her: we can fairly smell the good brown earth in every out-of-doors poem of his. Naturalness is another of his qualities. He is ever himself: affectation of all kinds is anathema to him. His work is marked also by a lambent, playful humour, which, however, can become sardonic enough when occasion requires."

Peter McArthur's Works:

Publications

Poetry
The Prodigal and Other Poems. 1907.

Essays
To Be Taken with Salt: Being an Essay on Teaching One's Grandmother to Suck Eggs. 1903.
In Pastures Green. 1915.
The Red Cow and Her Friends. 1919.
The Affable Stranger. Toronto, 1920.
Around Home. 1925.
Familiar Fields. 1925.
Friendly Acres. 1927.
The Best of Peter McArthur (edited by Alec Lucas). Toronto, 1967.

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PoemHunter.com Updates

The End Of The Drought

Last night we marked the twinkling stars,
This morn no dew revived the grass,
And oft across the parching fields
We see the dusty eddies pass;
The eager hawk forgets to swing
And scream across the burning sky,
And from the oak's slow-dying crest
Sends forth a strange and plaintive cry.

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