Sean Arthur Joyce is an author of poetry, Canadian history and a novel. He is better known in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada as Art Joyce for his popular newspaper columns and books on local history. Joyce has been a freelance journalist since 1990, working since 2005 as a reporter and Arts and Culture Editor for the Valley Voice, one of the last independently owned newspapers in BC. (www.valleyvoice.ca)
He has published two books of West Kootenay history and in 2014 published Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest: Canada’s Home Children in the West (Hagios Press) on the little-known phenomenon of the 100,000 poor children exported from the UK to work as indentured child labourers on Canadian farms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The book was supported by a national tour of 24 communities and reached the top 10 nonfiction bestsellers list in Calgary. https://www.radiantpress.ca/shop/laying-the-childrens-ghosts-to-rest-canadas-home-children-in-the-west
Joyce’s poems and essays have appeared in Canadian Author, The Fiddlehead, Whetstone, The New Quarterly, Acumen (UK), Quills, CCPA Monitor, New Orphic Review, Horsefly, Elephant Mountain Review and others. In 1997 he was among those chosen for the League of Canadian Poets Mentoring Program as among Canada’s most promising emerging poets, studying with Robert Priest. In 2001 with funding from BRAVO TV he wrote and directed a poetry video, The Muse: Chameleon Fire. In 2006 he appeared in an international anthology, The Book of Hopes and Dreams, featuring work by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Margaret Atwood. The anthology was a fundraiser for UK charity Spirit Aid for child victims of war in Afghanistan. With Sandra Stephenson of the Peace Studies program at John Abbott College in Montreal, he co-founded Poets Against War Canada, with the blessing of PAW founder Sam Hamill.
In 2016 Joyce produced his second poetry video, Dead Crow: Prologue, with music composed by Noel Fudge and video production by Isaac Carter and Orsi Benkoczi of ICandy Films (https://www.icandyfilms.com/about-us#!). The 2016 studio version was followed by a video recording of the live performance at the Convergence Writers' Weekend event in 2018 (https://widespot.ca/convergence-writers-weekend/).
New Orphic Publishers of Nelson, BC published his first major collection of poetry, The Charlatans of Paradise, in 2005. Joyce’s second book of poetry with New Orphic, Star Seeds, was released during National Poetry Month in April 2009. Award-winning poet Mick Burrs writes that “Joyce already possesses many of the gifts… which take a lifetime to master.” Canadian poetry icon bill bissett said simply of The Charlatans of Paradise: “excellent.” Joyce’s collection, The Price of Transcendence, released during National Poetry Month 2015, has been described by Tom Wayman as “a first-rate collection.”
Joyce's latest book is a novel, Mountain Blues, published by NeWest Press in May 2018. It has been compared by readers to Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. “Joyce ... brings a unique toolbox of writing skills to bear in Mountain Blues that makes for crisp, lyrical prose, an engaging narrative, memorable characters, ... and a lightness of touch that is as surprising as it is delightful,” writes Gary Geddes. https://newestpress.com/books/mountain-blues
• A Perfect Childhood: One Hundred Years of Heritage Homes in Nelson, local history (Nelson Museum & Historical Society, 1997) ISBN 0-9680038-1-8
• Hanging Fire & Heavy Horses: A History of Public Transit in Nelson, BC, local history (City of Nelson, 2000) ISBN 0-9686364-0-3
• The Charlatans of Paradise, poetry (New Orphic Publishers, 2005) ISBN 1-894842-07-3
• Star Seeds, poetry (New Orphic Publishers, 2009) ISBN 978-1-894842-16-7
• Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest: Canada’s Home Children in the West, history / creative nonfiction (Hagios Press, 2014) ISBN 978-1-926710-27-3
• The Price of Transcendence, poetry (New Orphic Publishers, 2015) ISBN 978-1-894842-25-9
• Dead Crow: Prologue, limited edition poetry (Chameleon Fire Editions, 2016) ISBN 978-0-9952401-0-0
• Mountain Blues, novel (NeWest Press, 2018) ISBN 978-1- 988732-30-5
• Poems for the Home Children, limited edition poetry (Chameleon Fire Editions, 2018) 978-0-9952401-3-1
• Joyce’s three collections of poetry published by New Orphic Publishers were each reprinted in two editions of 100 copies; all sold out (600 in all).
• Joyce’s poems and essays on poetics have appeared in Canadian, American and British literary journals, including The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, Whetstone, Canadian Author, New Orphic Review, Horsefly, Quill, Acumen and many others.
• His poems have been appeared in numerous anthologies, including Nature & Myth (Corbel Stone Press, UK, 2017); An Anthology of Nanaimo Poetry (Nanaimo Public Library, Canada, 2016); Fire and Sky (Brydge Builder Press, Canada, 2016); Awake in the World II (Riverfeet Press, Montana, 2019); and a forthcoming anthology from the American website Poets Reading the News.
• A thesis-length essay on poetics, A New Romanticism for the 21st Century, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Canadian Poetry (University of Western Ontario) and British literary journal Acumen.
• One of the poems from The Charlatans of Paradise (New Orphic, Canada, 2005) is included in an international anthology, The Book of Hopes & Dreams (2005), featuring Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and other notable poets from around the world. The anthology was published as a fundraiser for Scottish charity Spirit Aid, to benefit child victims of the conflict in Afghanistan.
• In 2007 Joyce and poet Timothy Shay edited the anthology Homeless in Paradise, a poetry fundraiser for a Nelson BC shelter. It was published by Joyce’s Chameleon Fire Editions.
• In 2006 Joyce was co-founder with Sandra Stephenson of Poets Against War Canada (www.poetsagainstwar.ca). His anti-war poem The Jinn in the Nightmare’s Eye has been published several times across Canada in various publications, including the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) newsletter The CCPA Monitor.
• In 2001 Joyce was published in Bread and Bones, a limited edition anthology of West Kootenay poets.
• His limited editions imprint, Chameleon Fire Editions (established 1990) has published his own work as well as poets Timothy Shay, Catherine Owen, Chad Norman, and Margaret Hornby.
• In 2001 Joyce produced a short poetry video, The Muse: Chameleon Fire, with funding from BRAVO TV’s BRAVOFact Foundation. The lead role was performed by actor Dawn Bird (née Scott); music for the video was composed by Steve Montgomery. (See video link.)