Author Tags: Local History, Poetry, Publishing
Born on September 28, 1959, in Kimberley, B.C. of an Anglo-Irish-Scots background, Arthur Joyce (aka Sean Arthur Joyce, Art Joyce) began writing and publishing in high school. During the 1980s and ’90s, he began publishing poetry and working as a freelance journalist for regional BC newspapers and magazines, eventually writing for the independently-owned Valley Voice newspaper of New Denver. He has also published with the national newsletter for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the CCPA Monitor. Joyce is now based in New Denver, BC.
His weekly heritage column, Heritage Beat, ran for five years in the Nelson Daily News. Based on this research, two books of history were published, A Perfect Childhood, on the classic homes and personalities of frontier Nelson; and Hanging Fire & Heavy Horses, on the city’s historic streetcars and buses. The Knowledge Network BC Moments video short on the heritage homes of Nelson, BC quotes from A Perfect Childhood.
Joyce’s poems and essays have been published in various Canadian literary magazines, including Canadian Author, The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Whetstone, New Orphic Review, and Horsefly. He co-edited the anthology Homeless in Paradise with Timothy Shay in 2007 as a fundraiser for a local homeless shelter. In 2006, his work appeared in an international charity anthology, The Book of Hope and Dreams, which featured Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Margaret Atwood. In 2001 he produced and directed a poetry video, The Muse: chameleon fire, with funding from BRAVO TV.
In March, 2008 Joyce launched chameleonfire.ca, a website featuring his writing, artwork and photography. Under his limited editions imprint, Chameleon Fire Editions, Joyce has published limited editions of poetry by Chad Norman, Timothy Shay, Catherine Owen and Margaret Hornby. He has been an organizer of poetry tours and cafés since the ‘80s and is a frequent performer on the Kootenay literary scene.
In 1997 he was involved in the League of Canadian Poets Mentoring Programme with Robert Priest. In November, 2005, his collection of poetry, The Charlatans of Paradise, was published by New Orphic Publishers in a limited edition. A second collection, Star Seeds, will be published by New Orphic in April, 2009.
Joyce believes, as Emily Dickinson did, that the sign of a great poem is one that “takes the top of your head off.” In his view, there is an urgent need for poets in this country to engage the political tradition of Neruda, Yevtushenko and Milton Acorn. As Joyce writes in the Foreword to The Charlatans, “In the trajectory toward the universal, contemplation of the self is only going halfway.”
Sean Arthur Joyce's Laying the Children's Ghosts to Rest: Canada's Home Children in the West (Hagios 2014) blends memoir, history and creative non-fiction to recall the 100,000 British Home Children who sent to Canada to work as indentured labourers during the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. His study is the first to examine the subject specifically with regards to the children who made their way to the Prairie provinces and B.C. His book has aided a campaign to extract from the Canadian government an official apology for their 80-year program of importing impoverished children from British slums to work as indentured labourers on Canadian farms.
As a freelance journalist in the Kootenays since 1990, Joyce also frequently contributes to New Orphic Review and maintains a lively blog at chameleonfire1.wordpress.com. He lives in New Denver.
Laying the Children's Ghosts to Rest: Canada's Home Children in the West (Hagios Press 2014) $18.95 978-1-926710-27-3
Star Seeds, New Orphic Publishers, 2009, ISBN 978-1-894842-16-7
The Charlatans of Paradise, New Orphic Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1-894842-07-3
Hanging Fire & Heavy Horses, City of Nelson, 2000, ISBN 0-9686364-0-3
A Perfect Childhood, Kootenay Museum Association and Historical Society, 1997, ISBN 0-9680038-1-8
Hope Writers Guild Poetry Competition, 1989
[BCBW 2017] "Local History" "Poetry" "Publishing"