Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stephan G. Stephansson

This FDC given to me by Maria and postmarked on 1.8.1975 commemorates Stephan G. Stephansson (October 3, 1853 – August 10, 1927), who  was a Western Icelander, poet, and farmer. His original name was Stefán Guðmundur Guðmundsson.
He was born in Skagafjorour, Iceland but emigrated to Wisconsin, USA in 1873, at age 19. In 1889 he moved to Markerville, Red Deer County, Alberta, Canada. He did not see Icel­­and again until 1917, when he was 64 years old.
Stephan was self-educated and worked hard all his life. He wrote after work, and, being an insomniac, he often wrote till dawn. He was under the influence of the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson and they shared the same beliefs in many matters, including, but not limited to, equal rights for men and women. Stephan wrote only in Icelandic and had great influence in his former home country.
His poems were published in a six volume book called "Andvökur" (Sleepless Nights).
His letters and essays were published in four volumes, and even if nothing of his poetry had survived, those would have been enough to single him out as one of Iceland's foremost men of letters.
His homestead near Markerville is an Alberta Provincial Historic Site. It has been restored and is open to the public from May 15 until August 31.

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