Carl Leggo

Dr. Carl Leggo


To celebrate his many commitments to interdisciplinarity and arts-based inquiry, colleagues and friends are creating a new graduate scholarship in his memory. To find out more, please go to the following url:


Dr. Carl Leggo recently passed away.

Carl was a much-admired poet and professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia from 1990-2019. His was also a prolific author, who produced the following books:

  • Growing Up Perpendicular on the Side of a Hill;
  • View from My Mother’s House;
  • Come-By-Chance;
  • Teaching to Wonder: Responding to Poetry in the Secondary Classroom;
  • Lifewriting as Literary Métissage and an Ethos for Our Times (co-authored with Erika Hasebe-Ludt and Cynthia Chambers);
  • Being with A/r/tography (co-edited with Stephanie Springgay, Rita L. Irwin, and Peter Gouzouasis);
  • Creative Expression, Creative Education (co-edited with Robert Kelly);
  • Poetic Inquiry: Vibrant Voices in the Social Sciences (co-edited with Monica Prendergast and Pauline Sameshima);
  • Speaking of Teaching (co-authored with Avraham Cohen, Marion Porath, Anthony Clarke, Heesoon Bai, and Karen Meyer);
  • English in Middle and Secondary Classrooms (co-edited with Kedrick James and Teresa M. Dobson);
  • A heart of wisdom: Life writing as empathetic inquiry (co-edited with Cynthia Chambers, Erika Hasebe-Ludt, and Anita Sinner); and
  • Sailing in a Concrete Boat: A Teacher’s Journey.

In addition to publishing many books, articles, poems, and stories, Carl was an engaging and inspiring educator in school and university classrooms for over 35 years. He was known among his students and colleagues as a poet-teacher with a passion for poetic knowing and poetic living. No day was complete without reading and writing poetry. Carl had a tremendous and lasting impact on language and literacy education and teacher education across Canadian schools and other institutions (e.g., prisons), and his many contributions to arts-based research, teaching, and artistic performance transformed scholarship at UBC and beyond.


Portrayals of teachers’ lives: Investigating teacher education through popular culture

Funding and Duration: $151,235 (2011-2014)

Source: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Role: Carl Leggo, Co-Investigator

Description: The purpose of this study is to investigate: 1) how contemporary and historic portrayals of lives of teachers are rendered in popular culture through integrative methods of creative nonfiction, digital media and life writing; 2) how these methods demonstrate exemplary participatory arts practice; and 3) how the emergence of integrative methods in teacher education reflects diverse ways of thinking about educational programming and curriculum. The key objectives in this study are to assess the methodological value of using integrative methods of creative nonfiction, digital media and life writing as both art and research, and how the application of these methods contributes to discourses that promise to improve practice in the area of teacher education. (The research team includes: Anita Sinner [principal], Erika Hasebe-Ludt, and Carl Leggo.)

Becoming Pedagogical through A/r/tography in Teacher Education

Funding and Duration: $147,600 (2008-2011)

Source: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Role: Carl Leggo, Co-Investigator

Description: The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate how a/r/tography is uniquely situated to enact, develop and problematize becoming pedagogical in a teacher education program. A/r/tography is a hybrid form of practice-based action research within education and the arts. Drawing upon the professional practices of educators and artists, becoming pedagogical within a teacher education context asserts that teacher candidates who are engaged in inquiry that uses their artistic and pedagogical sensibilities and capabilities in ongoing, disciplined, community-engaged, dialogic forms of research are able to problematize what it means to become pedagogical. (The research team includes: Rita Irwin [principal], George Belliveau, Stephanie Springgay, Donal O’Donoghue, and Peter Gouzouasis.)

Doing Time: A Time for Incarcerated Women to Develop an Action Health Strategy

Funding and Duration: $372,000 (2008-2010)

Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Role: Carl Leggo, Co-Investigator

Description: The purposes of this study are to determine the impact of women’s abilities to meet their health and social needs during the year following release from prison on the success of their re-integration into communities; and to evaluate and foster community-based peer support of released women; and to engage newly released women, health authorities, regional and provincial government and prison officials in translating the research into a health action strategy to support improved health and successful reintegration into society among women transitioning from prison. As part of this research project, women who have left prison will be invited to engage in creative writing as an educational and healing activity. (The principal investigators are R. Martin and P. Janssen. Leggo is one of a team of fifteen co-investigators.)

Rewriting Literacy Curriculum in Canadian Cosmopolitan Schools

Funding and Duration: $91,320 (2007-2010)

Source: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Role: Carl Leggo, Co-Investigator

Description: Teacher education and schooling in Canada face unprecedented challenges as a result of globalization, intercultural/international migration, and changes in local literate and cultural practices. This study (with Erika Hasebe-Ludt [principal] and Cynthia Chambers) is investigating crucial issues arising from these movements for educational institutions and populations in Canada. Specifically, the research focuses on the education of teachers and their students by engaging them in life writing as a form of teacher research. It also seeks to create opportunities for collaborative research among faculty members and teachers through life writing, with the aim of identifying appropriate theoretical and pedagogical frameworks for the study and practice of literacy, curriculum, and teacher education in culturally diverse schooling environments.

Awards & Honours

Ted T. Aoki Award for Distinguished Service in Canadian Curriculum Studies, 2013

Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring, 2012

Sam Black Award for Excellence in Education and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts, 2001

Killam Teaching Award, Faculty of Education, 1995

Selected Publications

James, K. and Leggo, C. (2017). Poetry from the matrix of Mother Earth and Mother Board. Axon: Creative Explorations, (7) 2.

Sameshima, P., Fidyk, A., James, K. & Leggo, C. (2017) Poetic Inquiry: Enchantment of Place. Delaware: Vernon Press.

Leggo, C. (2017). The vocation of poetry: Writing a lively love of the world. In L. Butler-Kisber, J. J. Guiney Yallop, M. Stewart, & S. Wiebe (Eds.), Poetic inquiries of reflection and renewal (pp. 276–297). Lunenburg, NS: MacIntyre Purcell Publishing.

Walmsley, H., Cox, S. M., & Leggo, C. (2017). “It’s a trash”: Poetic responses to the experiences of a Mexican egg donor. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 2(1), 58–88.

Hasebe-Ludt, E., & Leggo, C. (2016). Provoking a curricular métissage of polyphonic textualities. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 14(1), 1–5.

Leggo, C. (2016, July 21). Al Pittman: Savory on the Tongue. [Blog post for Brick Books’ Celebration of Canadian Poetry, week 82]. Available at:

McKerracher, A., Sinner, A. Hasebe-Ludt, E., Leggo, C., Rak, S., Ahn, C., & Boschee, J. (2016). When is the teacher? Reflections on life writing, social fiction, and film. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 14(1), 92–107.

Wiebe, S., Guiney Yallop, J., Fels, L., Snowber, C., Richardson, P., Honein, N., Faulkner, S., Dark, K., & Leggo, C. (2016). Poetic inquiry of and on play [Special capsule issue on children’s play]. Canadian Journal of Education, 39(3), 1–26.

McLarnon, M., Richardson, P., Wiebe, S., Balsawer, V., Binder, M., Browning, K., Conrad, D., Fels, L., Gouzouasis, P., Human, A., Kim, E. A., Leggo, C., Lemieux, A., Mantas, K., Meyer, K., Morelli, S., Nellis, R., & Vaudrin-Charette, J. (2016). The school bus symposium: A poetic journey of co-created conference space. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 1(1), 141–173.

Leggo, C. (2016). A poem can: Poetic encounters. LEARNing Landscapes, 9(2), 351–365.

Norman, R., & Leggo, C. (2016). Hearing echoes. Toronto: Inanna Publications.

Leggo, C. (2016). Remembering. In G. Belliveau, & M. Westwood (Eds.), Soldiers performing self in Contact!Unload: Innovations in theatre and counseling psychology (pp. 141–144). Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.

Leggo, C. (2016). Lingering with words: Developing creative writing and living creatively. In R. Kelly (Ed.), Creative development: Transforming education through design thinking, innovation, and invention (pp. 127–132). Edmonton, AB: Brush Education.

Leggo, C. (2016). Tuesdays with Mr. Burns. In A. Cole (Ed.), Professorial paws: Dogs in scholars’ lives and work (pp. 299-321). Halifax: Backalong Books.

Leggo, C. (2016). The unpredictability of bliss: A grandfather’s poetic riffs. In K. T.Galvin & M. Prendergast (Eds.), Poetic inquiry II: Seeing, caring, understanding: Using poetry as and for inquiry (pp. 51–70). Rotterdam, NL: Sense Publishers.

Leggo, C. (2016). The curriculum of wonder: Poetry as play, prophecy, & pedagogy. In N. Ng-a-Fook, A. Ibrahim, & G. Reis (Eds.), Provoking curriculum studies: Strong poetry and arts of the possible in education (pp. 5–28). New York: Routledge.

Gouzouasis, P., & Leggo, C. (2016). Performative research in music and poetry: An intercultural pedagogy of listening. In P. Burnard, E. Mackinlay, & K. Powell (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of intercultural arts research (pp. 454–466). New York: Routledge.

Walsh, S., Bickel, B., & Leggo, C. (Eds.) (2015). Arts-based and contemplative practices in research and teaching: Honoring presence. New York: Routledge.

Lal, S., Ungar, M., Malla, A., Leggo, C., & Suto, M. (2015). Impact of mental health services on resilience in youth with first episode psychosis: A qualitative study. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 42(6), 1–11. doi: 10.1007/s10488-015-0703-4

Walmsley, H., Cox, S.M., & Leggo, C. (2015). Listening deeply: Understanding experiences of reproductive tourism through poetic inquiry. Creative Approaches to Research, 8(3), 15–43.

Triggs, V., Irwin, R. L., & Leggo, C. (2015). Walking art: Sustaining ourselves as arts educators. In T. Jokela & G. Coutts (Eds.), Relate North: Art, heritage and identity (pp. 138–156). Rovaniemi: Lapland University Press. (Selected & reprinted from an earlier publication in a journal issue.)

James, K., Dobson, T., & Leggo, C. (Eds.). (2012). English in secondary classrooms: Creative and critical advice from Canadian teacher educators. Toronto: Pearson.

Chambers, C., Hasebe-Ludt, E., Leggo, C., & Sinner, A. (Eds.). (2012). A heart of wisdom: Life writing as empathetic inquiry. New York: Peter Lang.

Leggo, C. (2012). 29 ways of looking at the oblique in a/r/tography. Visual Arts Research, 38(2), pp. 1-5.

Leggo, C. (2012). Living language: What is a poem good for? JCACS (Journal of  the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies)10(1), pp. 141-160.

O’Gorman, C. M., Martin, M. S., Oliffe, J., Leggo, C., Korchinski M., Martin, R. E. (2012). Community voices in program development: The wisdom of individuals with incarceration experience. Canadian Journal of Public Health103(5), pp. 379-383.

Leggo, C. (2012). Challenging hierarchy: Narrative ruminations on leadership in education. in education18(1), 21pp. Available at:

Leggo, C. (2012). Sailing in a concrete boat. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Leggo, C. (2012). Where the wild words are: Provoking pedagogic imagination.  In S. Thomas, A. Cole, and S. Stewart (Eds.), The art of poetic inquiry. Halifax: Backalong Books.

Cohen, A., Porath, M., Clarke, A., Bai, H., Leggo, C., & Meyer, K. (2012). Speaking of teaching: Inclinations, inspirations, and innerworkings. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Leggo, C. (2011). Detours and distractions: In love with language. Journal of Artistic and Creative Education5(2), pp. 10-33.

Leggo, C. (2011). Yearning for words, learning with words: Poetic ruminations. LEARNing Landscapes.

Leggo, C. (2011). What is a poem good for? 14 possibilities. Journal of Artistic and Creative Education5(1), pp. 32-58.

Leggo, C. (2011). Longing for books: Reasons for reading literature. English in Australia46(2), pp. 37-45.

Leggo, C. (2011). Living love: Confessions of a fearful teacher. JCACS (Journal of the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies)9(1), pp. 115-144.

Leggo, C. (2011). A heartful pedagogy of care: A grandfather’s perambulations. In J. A. Kentel (Ed.), Educating the young: The ethics of care(pp. 61-83). New York: Peter Lang.

Leggo, C. (2010). Writing a life: Representation in language and image. Transnational Curriculum Inquiry7(2), pp. 47-61.

Hasebe-Ludt, E., Sinner, A., Leggo, C., Pletz, J., Simoongwe, F., & Wilson, L. (2010). These tensioned places of teaching: Life writing in precarious cosmopolitan times. Creative Approaches to Research3(2), pp. 21-38.

Leggo, C., Sinner, A., Irwin, R., Pantaleo, K., Gouzouasis, P., & Grauer, K. (2010). Lingering in liminal spaces: A/r/tography as living inquiry in a language arts class. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education24(2), pp. 239-256.

Leggo, C. (2010). Boys and their stories. In S. Steinberg, M. Kehler, & L. Cornish (Eds.), Boy culture: An encyclopedia (pp. 468-471). Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.

Sameshima, P. & Leggo, C. (2010). The poet’s corpus in love: Passionate pedagogy. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing26(1), 65-81.

Hasebe-Ludt, E., Chambers, C., & Leggo, C. (2009). Life writing and literary métissage as an ethos for our times. New York: Peter Lang.

Prendergast, M., Leggo, C., & Sameshima, P. (Eds.). (2009). Poetic inquiry: Vibrant voices in the social sciences. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Prendergast, M., Gouzouasis, P., Leggo, C., & Irwin, R. (2009). A haiku suite: The importance of music-making in the lives of secondary school students. Music Education Research, 11(3), 303-317.

Leggo, C. (2009). Living love stories: Fissures, fragments, fringes. In M. Prendergast, C. Leggo, & P. Sameshima (Eds.), Poetic inquiry: Vibrant voices in the social sciences (pp. 147-168).
Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Meyer, K. & Leggo, C. (2009). Imagining otherwise: Tantalizing tales from the Centre. In P. Lewis & J. Tupper (Eds.), Challenges bequeathed: Taking up the challenges of Dwayne Huebner (pp. 39-50). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Kelly, R. & Leggo, C. (Eds.). (2008). Creative expression, creative education. Calgary: Detselig.

Leggo, C. (2008). Amusing the muses: Ruminations on creative education. In R. Kelly& C. Leggo (Eds.), Creative expression, creative education (pp. 154-183). Calgary: Detselig.

Prendergast, M., Lymburner, J., Grauer, K., Irwin, R., Leggo, C., & Gouzouasis, P. (2008). Pedagogy of trace: Poetic representations of teaching resilience/resistance in arts education. Vitae Scholasticae: The Journal of Educational Biography, 25, 58-76.

Kirkland, K., & Leggo, C. (2008). A grim fairy tale: Taboo, mythopoetics, and truth-telling. In J. G. Knowles, S. Promislow, & A. L. Cole (Eds.),Creating scholartistry: Imagining the arts-informed thesis or dissertation (pp. 245-258). Halifax: Backalong Books.

Leggo, C. (2008). The wildness of language: Musing on poetry and pedagogy. English Quarterly, 38(2-3), 29-56.

Leggo, C. (2008). Seventeen poems & proposals for encouraging personal & expressive writing. English Practice, 50(1), 34-44.

Cohen, A., & Leggo, C. (2008). The mentoring relationship: A poetic perspective. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 3(2), 53-74.

Leggo, C. (2008). Narrative inquiry: Attending to the art of discourse. Language & Literacy, 10(1), 21 pp. Available at:

Wiebe, S., Sameshima, P., Irwin, R, Leggo, C., Gouzouasis, P., & Grauer, K. (2008). Re-imagining arts integration: Rhizomatic relations of the everyday. The Journal of Educational Thought, 41(3), 263-280.

Leggo, C. (2008). Astonishing silence: Knowing in poetry. In A. L. Cole & J. G. Knowles (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative social science research (pp. 165- 174). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Hasebe-Ludt, E., Chambers, C., Leggo, C., Hurren, W., Oberg, A., & Donald, D. (2008). Métissage. In A. L. Cole & J. G. Knowles (Eds.),Handbook of the arts in qualitative social science research (pp. 141-153). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Leggo, C. (2008). The ecology of personal and professional experience: A poet’s view. In M. Cahnmann & R. Siegesmund (Eds.), Arts-based inquiry in diverse learning communities: Foundations for practice (pp. 89-97). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Leggo, C. (2008). Autobiography: Researching our lives and living our research. In S. Springgay, R. Irwin, C. Leggo, & P. Gouzouasis (Eds.),Being with a/r/tography (pp. 3-23). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Hasebe-Ludt, E., Chambers, C., Oberg, A., & Leggo, C. (2008). Embracing the world, with all our relations: Métissage as an artful braiding. In S. Springgay, R. Irwin, C. Leggo, & P. Gouzouasis (Eds.), Being with a/r/tography (pp. 57-23). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Leggo, C. (2008). Living mathematically: A poet’s response. In E. de Freitas & K. Nolan (Eds.), Opening the research text: Critical insights and in(ter)ventions into mathematics education (pp. 183-188). New York: Springer.

Springgay, S., Irwin, R., Leggo, C., & Gouzouasis, P. (Eds.). (2008). Being with a/r/tography. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Leggo, C. (2007). Tangled lines: The art of researching our lives. The Journal of Educational Thought, 41(2), 191-199.

Leggo, C. (2007). Learning by heart: A poetics of research. JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 22(4), 73-95.

Leggo, C. (2007). Living poetically: Pensées on literacy and health. Canadian Creative Arts in Health, Training, and Education Journal, 6, 3-12.

Sinner, A., Leggo, C., Irwin, R., Gouzouasis, P., & Grauer, K. (2007). Arts-based educational research dissertations: Reviewing the practices of new scholars. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(4), 1223-1270.

Leggo, C. (2007). Writing truth in classrooms: Personal revelation and pedagogy. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 3(1), 27-37.

Leggo, C. (2007). The syntax of silence. JCACS (Journal of the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies), 5(1), 94-101. Available at:

Leggo, C. (2007). Autobiographical writing and voice: Five echoes. In I. Blayer and F. Fagundes (Eds.), Oral and written narratives and cultural identity: Interdisciplinary approaches (pp. 119-137). New York: Peter Lang.

Prendergast, M., & Leggo, C. (2007). Astonishing wonder: Spirituality and poetry in educational research. In L. Bresler (Ed.), International handbook on research in arts education (pp. 1459-1480). New York: Springer.

Leggo, C. (2006). Come-By-Chance. St. John’s: Breakwater Books.

Leggo, C. (2006). Attending to winter: A poetics of research. In W. Ashton & D. Denton (Eds.), Spirituality, ethnography, and teaching: Stories from within (pp. 140-155). New York: Peter Lang.

Leggo, C. (2006). End of the line: A poet’s postmodern musings on writing. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 5(2), pp. 69-92. Available at:

Leggo, C. (2006). Remembering grade 10 literature: A modest proposal. Update, 48(2), 20-24.

Leggo, C. (2006). The teacher as poet-researcher. BC Educational Leadership Research e-Journal, 4. Available at:

Leggo, C. (2005). Autobiography and identity: Six speculations. Vitae Scholasticae: The Journal of Educational Biography, 22(1), 115-133.

Leggo, C. (2005). Alphabet blocks: Expanding conceptions of language with/in poetry. TESL Canada Journal, 23(1), 91-110.

Leggo, C. (2005). Pedagogy of the heart: Ruminations on living poetically. The Journal of Educational Thought, 39(2), 175-195.

Leggo, C. (2005). An archipelago of fragments: Writing other gendered lines of connection. Men and Masculinities, 8, 195-207.

Leggo, C. (2005). The heart of pedagogy: On poetic knowing and living. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 11(5), 439-455.

Leggo, C. (2005). Synonyms: Fiction & Knowing. In W. Gershon, T. Kelly, K. Kesson, & W. Walter-Bailey (Eds.), (De)liberating curriculum and pedagogy: Exploring the promise and perils of “scientifically based” approaches (pp. 85-98). Troy, NY: Educator’s International Press.

Leggo, C. (2005). The letter of the law/the silence of letters. In P. Trifonas (Ed.), Communities of difference. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.