the work of sean arthur joyce

poetry of sean arthur joyce

musica eterna or bust

Poetry. I know its time is past. Or is it just beginning again? Listen. Do you recall? The time when poetry was the magic of the tribe? That time before machines we seem to have forgotten. When a ‘boom box’ was a well-oiled chest and imagination in the night was music to the ears of fire. A voice to spirit the soul away. Remember? Something generations deep and ages old lingers on. Moving cougar-quick at the edges of vision. Sharp as breath in a newborn’s cry—

first raspberry burst

on the tongue, first word, first song
that grabbed way down deep,
first cake, first kiss, first delicious

shock of air

And all of it, layers of living shadow, word genesis of sheer wonder. The Muse never went away, she just slipped on a flower power jacket and plugged in a guitar. I can see Emily Dickinson cranking up her Stratocaster® to 11 to scream into the microphone: “A good poem should take the top of your f*#king head off. And if it doesn’t, don’t waste my time.”

Like Deep Purple said, "Let’s go space truckin’," and leave the mumblers behind. From stardust we come and to stardust we return. Get with the Beat of the Universe: "If you would be a great poet, be the conscience of the race. Discover a new way for mortals to inhabit the Earth." (Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art)

* excerpted from because i am empty, published in the collection Star Seeds (New Orphic Publishers, 2009).

The poems in these broadsheets are all excerpted from my forthcoming collection, Star Seeds. (For more of my poetic manifesto, see the essays page, The Poetics of Dissent.)

publication history

Okay, for those who care: My poetry has been published in Canadian Author, The Fiddlehead, Whetstone, The New Quarterly, Horsefly, Kootenay Carnival, and the New Orphic Review; as well as overseas in Acumen (UK), among other publications.  In my younger years I enjoyed a long haiku streak, many of which were lucky enough to grace the pages of Herb Barrett’s Tidepool magazine, may he rest in peace.

My work has been anthologized in the limited edition book Bread & Bones (1997), a hand-bound treasure representing West Kootenay, BC writers of the period, and more recently in the UK anthology The Book of Hopes and Dreams, published by bluechrome press for Scottish charity Spirit Aid to raise funds for medical supplies in Afghanistan.

A suite of poems I wrote called Muse: The Series was the inspiration for both an exhibition of original mask artwork shown in Nelson’s Mildred Erb Gallery and a 6-minute video I produced for BRAVO TV called The Muse: chameleon fire.

Aside from limited edition broadsheets and chapbooks (see homepage), my poetry has been collected in book form as The Shattered Icons (1994, chameleonfire) and The Charlatans of Paradise (2005, New Orphic Publishers). A new collection, Star Seeds, is due out in 2008.

For reviews see books page.

In 2001, chameleon fire editions produced its first ever poetry video, with funding from BRAVO TV's BravoFACT fund. The video is based on 'Muse: The Series', a suite of poems written by Sean Arthur Joyce. The film was directed and produced by (Sean) Arthur Joyce, with original music by Steve Montgomery of SkipRock Productions, Nelson BC. The dancers are Dawn (Scott) Bird and Jasmine O'Brien. To view the video, choose a size and click that link.

Muse(40kb) wmv  
Muse(300kb) wmv  
Muse (800kb) wmv






Fathomless PDF


Star Seeds PDF

Star Seeds

Green Cathedrals PDF

Green Cathedrals

Butterfly Blade PDF

Butterfly Blade

Bear Clan PDF

Bear Clan

House PDF

House: a poem for Anne and Pablo Neruda

Jinn PDF

The Jinn in Nightmare's Eye

Swallowtail PDF


Five Man Band PDF


Christmas Epiphany PDF

Christmas Epiphany