The Sage of Sapawe


The Sage of Sapawe is a collection of known poetry and essays by Graham G. Harris (1878-1958), who lived simply in a cabin in Sapawe, a small northwestern Ontario community. Mr. Harris wrote with great proficiency and wit, taking full advantage of his literary education and his philosophical mind, but not from a vantage point beyond that of his readers.



During the 1920s, his essays in the Port Arthur News-Chronicle, “Woodland and Water” included such topics as local industry, the fur trade, the balance of nature, and his varied interactions with woodland animals. During the 1950s, he primarily wrote articles for a column titled “Sapawe Jottings” in the Atikokan Progress, where he expanded his subject matter and offered philosophical views of the happenings of the world, including such historic events as war, the death of the King and coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

His poetry is lively and evocative, extolling the beauty of nature and its inhabitants, the progression of local industry, and events of the time. He sometimes interjected a few lines of poetry into his essays –when the mood struck him. A number of his poems were included in the collection Rhymes of the Miner in 1937, in good company with those of renowned Canadian poets Robert Service, William Henry Drummond and others.

In addition to his observations of flora and fauna, Harris recorded weather phenomena and chronicled bird migrations. He gives a realistic view of living in the early homes of northwestern settlements with descriptions of ant invasions, army-worm infestations, bear break-ins and his neighbours. This work speaks well and clearly of conditions, attitudes, and the natural grandeur of Northwestern Ontario.

Graham G. Harris died when his cabin burned in 1958 and his unpublished work perished with him. This collection is his only known surviving works and rightfully deserves its place in Canadian history. Copies of original columns and poems are available for reference in the archival collection of the Museum of Atikokan.

This large-format hardcover includes bonus material: full-page illustrations by artist Stacey O’Sullivan, Curator’s Notes, newspaper clippings, photos, letters, background, genealogical research, footnotes, and index.

Additional information

Dimensions 20.955 × 27.94 in