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Carl Leggo

$22,553.26 (raised so far)

About Carl Leggo

All my emotions and experiences, all my hopes and desires, are steeped in poetry. I live in poetry, and poetry lives in me.
– Dr. Carl Leggo

Scholars, poets, teachers and students across Canada who know Carl Leggo speak of experiencing a particular ‘Leggo’ phenomenon––hearing his voice while reading a poem or essay he’s written. Even for those who have never heard him speak, the intimacy and nuance of his writing perform off the page in Carl’s evocative, Newfoundland lilt. New and established scholars alike can follow his remarkable repertoire of scholarship and converse with Carl across his contributions to Canadian curriculum studies, narrative and poetic inquiry, life writing, autobiography, teacher education, and arts-based research. Carl’s collaborative projects in métissage bring yet richer and messier threads of multiple voices that, as he says, “contribute to the constitution of understanding and connection.”

Carl’s homeland, Corner Brook, Newfoundland, turns up in his scholarship, reminding us of cultural roots and relationships, perhaps remembered as snippets and “perpendicular” angles. “When I was a boy, my parents burned coal in the little house on Lynch’s Lane.” Carl worked as a teacher for nine years in Newfoundland, beginning in 1976 with forty-eight grade 7 students. “I had a lot of clothes from Tip Top, and a couple degrees from Memorial University…I had been married two years and I owned a new Chevy truck.” At the same time, he wrote his master’s thesis for the University of New Brunswick. Carl went on to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta, and later claimed, “I have lived all my life in school…”

Indeed, education lived in Carl. He joined the University of British Columbia in 1990 and has spent his career there in the Department of Language and Literacy Education. Carl’s long history of service at UBC follows his spirited and generous commitment to students and colleagues. Twenty years ago, Carl served as administrator for the Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, two decades after its first Director, Ted Aoki, a significant mentor to him. Carl heard the word “minister” inside the tedious work of administration, which meant for him “to care for” or “look after.” Carl has always looked after graduate students, nurturing their creative capacities and preoccupations. The many graduate and undergraduate students, beginning and practicing teachers who have worked with Carl, carry his pedagogy of care forward.

UBC acknowledged Carl’s notable achievements as scholar, mentor, teacher and artist on many occasions with several eminent awards: The Ted T. Aoki Award for Distinguished Service in Canadian Curriculum Studies (2013), The Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2012), The Sam Black Award for Excellence in Education and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts (2001), and The Killam Teaching Award, Faculty of Education (1995). Carl has co-organized two cutting-edge conferences in education over several years: The International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry (with published anthologies) and Provoking Curriculum.

Carl’s writing across decades and topics remains fresh, holding the world of life and learning under poetic light. His poetry books include: Sailing in a Concrete Boat: A Teacher’s Journey; Growing Up Perpendicular on the Side of a Hill; View from My Mother’s House; and Come-By-Chance. As a scholar, Carl’s body of work includes co-authored books: Speaking of Learning; Life Writing and Literary Métissage as an Ethos for Our TimesSpeaking of Teaching; and Hearing Echoes. Carl’s co-edited books feature diverse scholarship in education: Canadian Curriculum Studies: A Métissage of Inspiration/Imagination/Interconnection; Being with A/r/tography; Creative Expression, Creative Education; Arresting Hope: Women Taking Action in Prison Health Inside Out; Arts-based and Contemplative Practices in Research and Teaching: Honoring Presence; A Heart of Wisdom: Life Writing as Empathetic Inquiry; and Teacher Research in the Backyard. Fortunately, a new anthology holds many of his own texts he has chosen to share, Storying the World: The Contributions of Carl Leggo to Language and Literacy.

And, Carl’s writing and life embrace love.

“Recently I saw another motto: Love, Laugh, Live. My third granddaughter, Gwenoviere is a year old. She laughs all the time. Yesterday she was wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, I Love Papa. Of course, I laughed loudly too. Imagine if my yearbook motto had been: Love, Laugh, Live. Delightful alliteration! Strong wisdom! I might have composed a different life story with a different motto. Of course, I don’t know what would have happened in school if I was devoted to love, laughter and living! Sounds dangerous!”

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The impact of your support

In Dr. Carl Leggo’s memory, the Carl Leggo Graduate Scholarship in Arts-Based Inquiry Fund has been established by colleagues and friends at UBC.

Your gift will pay tribute to Carl’s life and many contributions to UBC, by supporting a Masters or PhD student who is pursing arts-based inquiry as part of their graduate thesis research.

Messages of Remembrance

All Messages
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  • Hi Carl, I am still working on the mission and trying to find a home. These days, I am waiting for an important decision from a top-notch journal. Best, Albert

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, I think 'miss you' is the most expressive and powerful phrase in the world. But I am not allowed to post it. Best, Albert

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, Thank you for teaching me that I deserve what I want to do. I am still trying to find the way to do it. I didn't forget my promise to you and am still on the mission. At the same time, I am searching for a home. Albert

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, I'm still working on my job, and trying to find my home. Albert

    Albert , Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, I'm still in search of a home. I'm also working on fulfilling your dream. Albert

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, Can I say I miss you again. Sincerely, Albert

    Albert Wu, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, We'll get the Job done. Sincerely, Albert

    Albert Wu, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, Miss you. Albert

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Shortly after I paid my first visit to the Gastown, I happened to be reading Carl Leggo’s The Poet’s Corpus in Love Passionate Pedagogy, and also around the same time I heard the news of professor Leggo’s passing in my department. When I sit in the cornor of the Starbucks next to the Gastown steam clock again, I started to think that perhaps this landmark is what I share in common with a poet named Carl Leggo, in a way it also connects the memory of many others whose map overlaps.

    Dianna Bao, Reader/student
  • Hi Carl, I'll get the job done. The harsher the reality is, the more dedicated I am. Albert

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Feel relaxed after babbling and setting a shortterm goal. Still working on getting a paper published in a topnotch journal before the end of the year.

    Albert , Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, Practising an alternative academic genre, it is hard to get established. I am still trying to publish an article in a top-tier journal before the end of the year. Albert

    Botao, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, Still trying to learn your social skills. Botao

    Albert , Student and friend
  • Thank you Carl for the sweet memories. I know you have hard times, especially when reading and teaching your novel. I am still learning from you. In memory of Carl, Botao

    Albert , Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, Miss you on rainy days. Thank you for your strong support and wise advice. I am still on the mission. Best, Botao

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Hi Carl, Miss you in rainy days. Thank you for your strong support and wise advice. I am still on the mission. Best, Botao

    Albert, Student and friend
  • Prof Carl Leggo was one of those rare individuals who was able to make a student feel that he was valued as a human being. His charismatic presence in class was very welcoming and his creative teaching approach created a relaxed, inclusive and engaging learning environment. He was a real global citizen, with a kind heart and an open mind. May the winds of heaven blow softly and whisper in your ear. Always on my mind, forever in my heart.

    Ahmed Sahlane, BEd English Secondary student-teacher
  • Hi Carl, I am still working on fulfilling your dream, though it is hard. Best, Botao

    Botao Wu, student
  • Hi Carl, Happy New Year. I miss you. I have spent 20 years and fulfilled my father's wish. In the following years, I am on a mission to fulfill your dream. I am happy that I worked with you. Miss you and wish you are happy now in paradise. Best, Botao

    Botao Wu, student
  • Hi Carl, Merry Christmas. I made it. Botao

    Botao Wu, student
  • Hi Carl, Thank you for helping me feel safe and equal to my peers. It's an invaluable gift. I've failed several times in the attempt to publish my article about you and me. Still trying to get it published before the end of the year. Best, Botao

    Botao, student
  • Hi Carl, Miss you. I appreciate the sunshine you give to everyone. I am trying to publish an academic article about you and me. Hope I can make it before the end of the year.

    Botao Wu, student
  • Hi Carl, I've decided on a job in South China. My paper "My Poetic Inquiry" is just accepted by a top-tier journal, Qualitative Inquiry. Will write more and try to get published. Still remember our consensus that some award belongs to us. Thank you so much for the life experience and classes at UBC! In the shadow of Novel coronavirus but not infected, Botao

    Botao Wu, student
  • I had no intention of embarking on a masters program until Carl presented at a professional development day at my elementary school. His presentation was so inspiring that two colleagues and I entered the program. I was nervous as I walked into the first class but was set at ease as Carl met each student with a warm welcome. After class I was confused. It was so much fun. It was too easy. University is supposed to be hard work. What was going on? Carl announced that all students in the class will get an A if we showed up more or less regularly. A, eh? This was really weird but after every class though, words crashed around in my head. I would be up till the wee hours pouring those words out when I should have been sleeping. Set free from the oppressive quest for a mark, encouraged to take risks, have fun, play with ideas, I learned so much. Thank you Carl.

    Donelda Rose, former student/friend
  • My first class with Carl was in 1994: Principles of Teaching, a lab section after a lecture, While we sat waiting for the Prof, students filed in. A long-haired figure with an army green canvas bag arrived and no one took much notice. Another student in this mix of ages required class for Education students? Nope, it is the Prof. I thought he looked a lot like Jesus, as he took to introducing himself, tossed aside the prescribed syllabus and set to work enchanting his pupils with his soft sing song lilt and wonderful stories. That was my first encounter with Carl Leggo. Subsequently, I had him a few times as a professor while taking Education courses and felt honoured and privileged to be taught by such a gentle man. I'll never forget his readings from "Growing up Perpendicular on the Side of a Hill", class nature walks to out of the classroom to inspire us. The many laughs and the always positive Karma he emitted. I still reckon back to my many moments and stories he shared. I know that his teaching has inspired and supported my teaching. His love for his students and for his craft of poetry were unmatched. Thank you Carl for what you did for all of us. I am sure you are sitting on a cloud up high, still sharing, still loving, still inspiring. Cheers Brother Regards Eric

    Eric Hartmann, Student
  • Happy Father’s Day, Dad! With love and gratitude always and forever!

    Anna, Nick, Madeleine and Mirabelle,
  • Carl's impact on my life as a teacher of literature and language, a writer, and as a human is profound. Never before had I met a teacher so willfully honest, so inviting, so caring, so genuinely interested in my development as a lover of wor(l)ds. Carl encouraged me - and all of us - to take risks, to dare to live joyfully (if for no other reason then out of spite!), and to dedicate ourselves to the power of story and the power of language. His work and influence continue to live on today in the lives of the students I teach. I have given workshops on his pedagogies, spreading his word as if it is evangelical -- and at times, and in certain places, it is. I'm so grateful to Carl for his time, his care, his thoughtfulness. Pieces of him truly will live on in us, and I am pleased to know this scholarship will keep his priorities and energies alive.

    Adrienne Michetti, student and mentee
  • I am profoundly grateful to be on the list of UBC students given the opportunity to learn, experience and be emotionally ignited by Dr. Leggo’s unique gifts. Saddened at the loss of his intellect, wit, creativity, and stories, I will continue to be inspired as a teacher by his example. Rest in power!

    Jill Lewis, Master’s Student
  • Haiku to Carl Poet, mentor, friend Ethical, compassionate A man of his word/s

    Bonny Norton, Colleague and Friend
  • One year when I was a new assistant professor at UBC, Carl taught in the same classroom that I did, immediately after my class ended. We would bump into each other at the class change twice a week. He knew that I was new, knew my name right away, and went out of his way the rest of the term to check in with me in those brief moments, to make sure I was getting along okay. He checked in without ever actually telling me that this was what he was doing. Put another way, Carl wasn't just acting kind. Carl was kind. You couldn't help but notice that about him. I'm grateful to have known him.

    Jason Ellis, colleague
  • Carl’s passion for vigorous and creative scholarship that transcends disciplinary boundaries is the inspiration behind this new graduate scholarship in art-based inquiry. This scholarship was originally to be in honour of, rather than in memory of Carl. After we first discussed the idea, I sent Carl an email to identify criteria for the scholarship. He replied with great enthusiasm for how the scholarship would celebrate the significance of arts-based research at UBC. I replied saying that I was excited to have the opportunity to help with ensuring that his “Leggocy” would inspire and support graduate students for a long time to come! So this is now a part of Carl’s LEGGO-CY. To honour Carl’s love of words and all forms of word play, my husband Dean constructed a huge lego C from the bags of lego we have at home for our grandchildren. It symbolizes the commitment to making this scholarship a resounding success.

    Susan Cox, Colleague
  • I just heard of Carl's death. Carl was the saving grace of my teaching year at UBC. In a program I experienced to be mainly teaching me to conform, Carl offered poetry. He believed all we needed to do as new teachers was be ourselves and explore the things that gave us joy. He asked us to take risks and be brave in being ourselves. He inspired me in poetry and in teaching. I am very saddened to hear of his passing.

    Taryn Thomson, student
List of Donors
All Donors
  • Albert Wu

  • Dianna Bao

  • David Blades

  • Susan Cox

  • Susan Cox

  • Botao Wu

  • Donelda Rose

  • Kathleen & Reinhat

  • Susan Cox

  • Marlene Asselin

  • George and Sue Belliveau

  • Becky Livingston

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