Recently famous West Indian Poet A.J. Seymour would have celebrated his 100th birthday this January. His work is still
featured in the West Indies and schools here in North America and it was an honour to have him recognized at the See More Poetry event in Guyana. Some family members were in attendance for the special occasion.
My Grandfather was a great man and as I try to follow in his footsteps I hope to create a grew amount of work as he did in his time. We still live through his work and invite those interested in poetry and the West Indian culture to follow him through his latest book Collected Poems 1937-1989.
As is known, Arthur James Seymour has made an enormous contribution to the literature of Guyana and the Caribbean. As well as a prolific writer of poetry, he was an anthologist, editor, publisher, broadcaster, cultural historian and literary enabler.
His poetry work included ‘Verse’ (1937), ‘More Poems’ (1940), ‘Over Guiana Clouds’ (1944) and ‘Sun’s in my Blood’ (1945). As an anthologist he produced ‘Treasury of Guyanese Poetry’ and Kyk-over-Al Anthology of Guianese Poetry’ among others.
He also compiled ‘Dictionary of Guianese Folklore’ and the ‘Dictionary of Guyanese Biography’ (1984) and wrote the ‘Making of Guyanese Literature’ (1978).
Born January 12, 1914, he was educated at Blackman’s School on Regent Street, St. Phillips School on Smythe Street, Collegiate High School, Camp and Bent Streets and the Guianese Academy from where he won the Government Junior Scholarship to enter Queen’s College (QC).
Seymour worked at the General Post Office and Bureau of Public Information (BPI) where he became Chief Information Officer. He was a member of a number of groups and committees, including Public Free Library Committee and Guyana Textbook Committee.
On July 31, 1937, he married Elma Bryce and the union bore three daughters and three sons.
He edited the literary journal Kyk-over-Al from 1945-1961 and co-edited, with Ian McDonald from 1984 until his death on December 25, 1989.
Other events to honour Seymour include the mounting of a plaque yesterday, Monday, January 13, on the building at Lot 23 North Road, Bourda, where he formerly resided and the induction of Seymour into the National Library’s Hall of Fame for the Literary Arts tomorrow, Wednesday, January 15, which will take place at 17:00 hrs at the National Library.
(By Michelle Gonsalves)
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is the Grandson of poet A.J. Seymour and owner of Bruce Outridge Productions. The company is the Canadian reseller for A.J. Seymour’s latest book. To purchase copies of the book please contact the company at 289-337-2630 or by email.