William Harris Lloyd Roberts was a Canadian poet, story writer, and essayist.
He was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the second son of Mary Isabel Fenety and Charles G.D. Roberts. His father was a major Canadian poet later regarded as Canada's leading man of letters. In 1885, the elder Roberts became a professor at King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia, a position he would hold for the next ten years. Lloyd Roberts grew up in Windsor, being educated by private tutors and at King's College School. In 1895 the family moved back to Fredericton, where Roberts "finished his education" at Fredericton High School.
In 1897 Charles G.D. Roberts left his wife and family, and went to live in New York City. Lloyd Roberts (just fifteen years old) joined his father in New York in the winter of 1899, "and they spent part of that spring, summer and fall travelling in England and Europe."
In 1904 Lloyd Roberts began his own writing career, taking a job as assistant editor of Outing magazine in New York. Soon he was working as an editorial writer for the National Encyclopedia of American Biography. In 1908 he married Helen Hope Farquhar Balmain, of England.She would bear him one daughter, Patricia Bliss (Henderson) before dying prematurely in 1912.
In 1911 Roberts returned to Canada, finding work as a reporter for the Nelson, British Columbia, News. From 1913 until 1920 he worked in the Canadian civil service in Ottawa, as the editor of immigration literature. In 1914 he married Leila White of New York; their marriage would later end in divorce. Also in 1914, Robert published his first volume of verse, England Over Seas.
In 1923 he published The Book of Roberts, a volume of essays on his literary family.
Roberts became a convert to Christian Science, and from 1925 to 1939 he worked as a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. During that period he published two more books of poetry: Along the Ottawa in 1927, and I Sing of Life in 1937. He also wrote "several plays including 'Mother Doneby', 'Let's Pretend', and 'The Bishop of St. Kitt's,' as well as numerous articles and short stories."
In 1939 Roberts became a liaison and public relations officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a position he held until 1943. In 1943 he married for a third time, to Julia (Judy) Bristow. They had 2 daughters, Thaia Bliss and Mary Carman.
Lloyd Roberts died in Toronto in 1966.
The primary literary influence on Lloyd Roberts was unquestionably his father, Charles G.D. Roberts. As Lloyd wrote in the Book of Roberts: "My father was the strongest man in the world, there was no doubt about it."
"Because of the warm place held in the hearts of Canadian readers, by Charles G. D. Roberts," John Garvin wrote in 1916, "a first volume of poems from the pen of his eldest living son, ... England Over Seas, published in the spring of 1914, at once attracted wide attention. It was soon discovered that the son is as true a poet as the father, possessing the same unerring vision and sureness of touch in nature description, and the same fine mastery of words and of rhythmic effects."
Reviewing England Over Seas, the Halifax Herald commented:
It is the simplicity of statement, the lyric charm and the spontaneous joy of its utterance which make Mr. Roberts' work such a pleasure and a profit to read. This simplicity is obviously Mr. Roberts' ideal, and with such an ideal held steadily before him, there is no distance he may not travel and no height he may not climb to deliver his message to the world .... Lloyd Roberts comes upon the scene as a writer of true lyric poetry, singing the song of his native land, and with each successive poem fulfilling the promise of becoming one of the way-marks of
In the Montreal Herald, J.D. Logan described Roberts as "fundamentally a word-painter" rather than a musical writer: "As a verbal musician his rhythms are limited, quite conventional ... But essentially Mr. Roberts shows distinction as a colourist, using words with the same beauty and power that a master-painter in oils uses pigments. He is a master of vivid colourful diction and phrase." He added that "Roberts is a genuine poet because he sings with the poet's chief inspiration, namely: ecstasy of delight in the magic and mystery of earth, and in the lust of life."
The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia adds that "Roberts's literature attempts to capture his native New Brunswick and describes its landscape vividly." ..