gingerbread house
A children’s rendition of an Alaskan wilderness lodge, created at Asilomar in California, the retreat center designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan. ©Author Adventures

“Our breath is brief, and being so
Let’s make our heaven here below,
And lavish kindness as we go.”
— Robert W. Service

Robert W. Service, Pioneering Writer of the North

Robert W. Service (1874-1958), a British-born poet and author of Scottish heritage, felt compelled to leave his home country to explore the Alaskan wilderness, after relocating to North America.

See his photo, read about his personal history, and his Dawson City cabin here: https://www.yukoninfo.com/dawson-city-yukon/robert-service-the-bard-of-the-yukon.

Read more about Robert W. Service at: poets.org and https://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-W-Service.

Skagway

The small town of Skagway, in southeast Alaska, keeps his memory as the poet of the Yukon alive through special events and programs that are open to the public. Skagway has a population of around 970 residents. Read about the town’s current and ongoing offerings here: https://skagway.com/play.

Skagway was once a destination for scores of people seeking fortune to benefit the families they left for the journey during the Klondike Gold Rush. Read more about its history here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/klgo-skagway-tourism.htm.

In present day, it is known for attracting approximately a million visitors each summer, up from the original 60 tourists from Boston in 1898, according to https://www.nps.gov/articles/klgo-skagway-tourism.htm.

The Writer’s Works

Before you go or on the long route, check out Robert W. Service’s poetic writing style in the free e-book, Trail of ’98, available from www.gutenberg.org. Links to many of his poems can be found here: https://www.internal.org/Robert_W_Service.

“Write verse, not poetry. The public wants verse. If you have a talent for poetry, then don’t by any means mother it, but try your hand at verse.” — Robert W. Service

Skagway is the third stop on our Alaska Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart