The Spell of the Yukon
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The Spell of the Yukon

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In this omnibus volume is included the verse of Robert Service from the beginning of his remarkable career up to 1940.
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 30th 1988 by Putnam Adult (first published 1907)
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Becky
The collection of poetry is very, very dear to my heart. My father owned this book, and despite its weight, carried it with him any time he went rock climbing or back packing. Later, when we were children sitting at the campfire Dad would recite the longer poems to us- Cremation of Sam McGee, Spell of the Yukon, and the Shooting of Dan McGrew- all from memory. They were good times.

I eventually found the exact same copy type that my dad had carried with him all those years at a library sale. No...more
sage
I find reviewing poetry really difficult, so I don't have anything particularly brilliant to say. I loved this book a lot. It's authentic Canadian pioneer days, gold rush stuff, and it's got the meter of Scottish drinking songs. I read quite a lot of it out loud -- couldn't help it, it begs to be sung if at all possible.

Parts are paeans to how awesome men (sic) who are strong and adventurous enough to survive life in the Yukon are and how they don't want any weaklings or cripples. Other parts ar...more
Lisa
Jun 05, 2008 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Guys and fur traders.
A poet of such power and simplicity deserves better than the long-winded analysis elsewhere. Service is funny, earthy, and a great writer.
"The cremation of Dan McGee" is one of the best poems ever.."The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see..."
Al
Robert Service, the bard of the Yukon, was born in England. While he knocked about a bit as a youth, he mostly worked in banks in Canada. His rough verses celebrate the hard, dangerous life of the loners who worked and fought in the wildernesses of the world, particularly the Yukon. Despite the condescensions of contemporary poets, his work was wildly popular and ultimately made him rich. A prolific writer, he went on to write novels and many other volumes of verse. This was his first published...more
Rebecca Lewitt
interesting view of life in the Yukon. Gritty at times. I liked best the poems about nature, but the story poems were interesting too.
Ron
Robert W. Service (1874-1958) burst upon the scene in 1907 with this collection of poems, published first in Canada as Songs of a Sourdough, where it was an immediate success. Born of a Scots family in England, he was living at the time in Whitehorse, Yukon, as an employee of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He had already knocked about the West from Mexico to Vancouver. The bank job seems to have been an attempt to settle down and draw a regular paycheck.

He had been writing poems from boyhood and...more
Cristy
Although originally published in 1907, many of Robert W. Service’s works are still very relatable today. Truly a writer for the common man, you’re sure to find most of these famous works easily received and fun to read. His writings are full of insight into human nature, while done with a bit of a cheeky sense of humor. Service’s collection of poems in THE SPELL OF THE YUKON AND OTHER VERSES is a wonderful glimpse into his larger body of works. Truly a great taste, especially for free (through K...more
Ryan
One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather reading to me from this tome, so I was delighted to recently rediscover Robert Service. I am not generally a fan of poetry collections, but this one is special. Robert Service had a magical knack for putting the beauty of Alaska into poetry. Though most readers know him for his humor and storytelling, for me his strongest suit is his ability to put grandeur and emotion into words. His ability to describe the feelings from listening to piano music...more
Joanne G.
When I was helping to clean out my mother-in-law's home after her death, I found this tiny volume printed in 1907. It was given as a graduation gift to someone in our family, but everyone is gone who could have told me. My husband had been watching a show about gold mining in Alaska; the show and the scenery intrigued me into reading the book. What a difficult time people had at the turn of the previous century in merely surviving in the wild Yukon, much less finding their fortune. Service's poe...more
Elizabeth
"But the stars throng out in their glory,
And they sing of the God in man;
They sing of the Mighty Master,
Of the loom his fingers span,
Where a star or a soul is part of the whole,
And weft in the wondrous plan."
Peter Heinrich
Service's poetry is considered doggerel by some, but I've loved "The Cremation of Sam McGee" since I first read it in seventh grade. It was my favorite poem until the next year, when I read "Derelict," by Young Allison (which fell to Poe's "The Raven" soon after). This little book, his original best-selling collection, paints a vivid picture of his time in the Yukon, if a little unevenly at times. I enjoyed most of the poems, but he certainly stretches for the rhyme and meter in some places, not...more
John
Robert Service has an interesting perspective on life and nature. He does have some really odd stuff here, even harsh and hard to take. But he does capture, I believe, the spirit of many of those who went to the frozen north more than 100 years ago to seek wealth in the gold fields. "The Cremation of Sam McGee" is one of my favorites. And I heard it was one of Pres. Ronald Reagan's favorites too.

This book is in the public domain and I downloaded it free on the Kindle App on my Android phone.
Greg
Service was a Brit who was drawn by the lure of the Yukon in the 19th Century. He wrote some great poems about the pull of nature and adventure, a common reaction to the Industrial Revolution and it's constraints on freedom and nature. Unfortunately, they are all pretty similar. Still, good stuff and easy to read. A kid would appreciate these poems, if you could get one to read them.
Erin Thomas
Very old book. Typefacing is too wide, forcing most of the lines to wrap. But, it's a book I prize dearly because it's from one of my favorite poets and it's more than a century old.
Christina Stanger
This is my favorite book of all time. The land that god forgot is my favorite poem of all of the poems as well as The Cremation Of Sam McGee. They are all perfectly lovely though.
Brian Cooke
Reading this made me want to run outside and make a start for the nearest mountain. It's been a long time since something spurred the naturalist in me to this extent.
itpdx
Among Service's famous tried and true rhymes, I found a new favorite, "The Tramps". The racism and sexism of the day pops into some of his poems.
Ruth
An energetic, blistering poetic account of Robert Service's Yukon experiences. I like to think of him as the Jack London of poetry.
Khinna
I read a lot of Robert Service, while in Alaska. He made Alaska an bleak, unknown... Alaska is nothing like the lower 48...
JeanAnn
Jan 25, 2011 JeanAnn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to JeanAnn by: jeanann@acrec.com
Reviewed by Bill, January 2011

So good to hear read aloud by Bill.
London Nance
The Shelf: Rejected until further notice.
Floyd Mann
Nov 30, 2010 Floyd Mann rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Floyd by: Tom Camp
Dark, powerful stuff.
Chris Brimmer
Just plain fun.
William Ritch
William Ritch marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
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65528
Robert William Service was born into a Scottish family while they were living in Preston, England. He was schooled in Scotland, attending Hillhead High School in Glasgow. He moved to Canada at the age of 21 when he gave up his job working in a Glasgow bank, and traveled to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with his Buffalo Bill outfit and dreams of becoming a cowboy.

He drifted around western Nor...more
More about Robert W. Service...
The Cremation of Sam McGee Collected Poems of Robert Service The Best of Robert Service Best Tales of the Yukon The Shooting of Dan McGrew and Other Poems

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“Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory, Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole? "Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story, Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul? Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders? (You'll never hear it in the family pew.) The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things — Then listen to the Wild — it's calling you.” 2 likes
“Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.”
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