Poetry in Motion

Wed 22nd May 2019 at 12.50 - 14.00

Iain McIver gave us a unique version of Poetry in Motion with the life and poems of Scottish born poet Robert W Service.

At Wednesday’s lunchtime gathering, Ian McIver asked members of the Rotary Club of St Andrews whether they’d enjoyed poetry at school. Ian hadn’t. He revived memories of school’s favourite poets: -  Longfellow, Coleridge, Chaucer and even led an impromptu recitation of Wordsworth’s “Daffodils.”

 

Everything changed for Ian when he discovered the work of Robert W Service 1874 - 1958. Perhaps it was because they had both attended Hillhead School in Glasgow ( although,of course, not at the same time! )

 

The young Robert started his working life as a banker, emigrating to North-West Canada in 1903. His experience of life in the Yukon during the gold rush inspired such poetic gems as “The Ballad of Blasphemous Jim,” The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” -  so popular it earned him half a million dollars.

 

In 1908 Robert moved to Dawson City, giving up banking to become a full time author. Although the literary world regarded his work as doggerel it was massively popular, making him a millionaire. In 1913 he moved to France, married a Frenchwoman and settled in Lancieux, Brittany.

 

James Murray proposed thanks for a highly entertaining and informative talk.


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