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ode to a teacher

leggo

Portrait of the poet as a baby

even at six months
my mother tells me
I stood in my crib

one night she peeked
into my bedroom
sure I was asleep

only to find me leaning
on the crib rail
like a passenger

on a cruise ship
waving an olive hand
that had found

a hot muddy place
inside my diaper
and had scratched

on the blue wall
like a vertical sea
lines of shit:

even then one of us
knew I would grow up
to be a poet

source: Leggo, C. (1999). View from my mother’s house. St. John’s, NF: Killick Press, p. 24.

Raised in Newfoundland, Carl Leggo is a poet, essayist, and professor in the Department of Language Education at the University of British Columbia. He co-chaired the committee that guided me to a doctorate in educational leadership (2001) with a dissertation on autobiographical learning. Carl taught me to write with and from the heart in ways that amazed me to no end and which, to my further surprise and delight, was deemed appropriate language in the academy.

He describes his way of working with students this way: “I spend hours responding to students’ writing. I write copious notes in response to their texts. When I devote my attention to careful reading of my students’ writing, I acknowledge the value of their writing. I demonstrate that I am willing to invest time in reading as they have invested time in writing. I indicate when I am moved by their writing. I respond with my stories. I question and challenge them. I encourage them to write more.”

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One response »

  1. Newfoundlanders are a breed all to themselves … wonderful people.

    Reply

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