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Writers at school


Endre Farkas



Endre Faskas

Endre Farkas was born in Hungary. He escaped during the 1956 Hungarian uprising and settled in Montreal. He has published eleven books of poetry and plays. His work has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Slovenian and Turkish. He has read and performed widely in Canada, the United States, Latin America, and Europe, and has created pieces that have toured across the country and abroad. He is the two-time regional winner of the CBC Poetry "Face Off" Competition. His play, Haunted House, based on the life and work of poet A.M. Klein, was produced in Montreal in February 2009. He taught literature and creative writing at John Abbott College for over thirty years and has given workshops to adults, elementary and high school students.

Suggested reading*

Quotidian Fever (The Muses’ Company, 2007)
Blood is Blood (Signature Editions, 2010)
Surviving Words (The Muses’ Company, 1994)
In the Worshipful Company of Skinners (The Muses’ Company, 2003)

*These titles have been suggested by the author based on the activities that he/she proposes to students.
It is, however, up to teachers to verify whether the titles are appropriate for their groups (age and education level, specific context, etc.).
Teaching staff are invited to contact the author for clarification on this aspect and assistance in preparing their groups for his/her visit.

Proposed approach and type of activities

These workshops, based on the following books, are recommended for Senior Cycle 2 students at the secondary level. Teachers should allow ample time for students to read some or all of the work prior to the visit:

1. Surviving Words - This book of poetry, based on his parents’ experience as Survivors of the Holocaust, would serve as the basis for an exploration of the themes of tolerance and man’s inhumanity to man. Single or multiple-visit workshops could include a Q & A session with the author and/or having students explore these themes by writing their own poems. This workshop could link up with class study of novels such as The Diary of Anne Frank and Night, with students writing poems to or from the point of view of Anne Frank, for example.

2. ln the Worshipful Company of Skinners - This book of poetry, based on a young boy’s account of his years in the early 1800s as an employee of The Hudson Bay Company, would serve as the basis for a workshop exploring ways of incorporating history into poetry. Single or multiple-visit workshops could include a Q & A session with the author and/or having students select a character from Canadian history and write a series of poems in that voice.

These workshops dovetail nicely with the QEP’s History and Citizenship and Ethics courses.

Examples of activities

Here are some sample exercises from a typical workshop (adaptable to age and ability):

  • Focus on Line-breaks: Prior to the author’s visit, he emails three to five poems (in prose/paragraph form) to the teacher for distribution to students who are then asked to try to rewrite each with line breaks - where they feel the lines should break. Part of the class visit is spent discussing what a line break is and why the line breaks as it does.
  • Words-as-Sounds exercise: Students are asked to think of 5 words whose sound they LOVE and explain why. Share.
  • Words-as-Motion/Verb exercise: Students are asked to select 5 verbs, then to find two "more specific" verbs for each that further describe the action (e.g. "walk" can be replaced with "saunter" or "shuffle"). Discuss the differences.
  • Words-as-Imagery exercise: Introduce imagery by asking the class what the difference is between a "brown table" (description) and a "hungry table" (image). After providing several more examples, the author would ask students to come up with their own.
  • Words-as-Symbol exercise: Have students list 5 objects and ask them to think about what they could represent.

Special conditions

For information

Endre Faskas
Phone : 514 488-3185
Email :

Subject to taxes (GST, PST)



Secondary 1, Secondary 2, Secondary 3, Secondary 4, Secondary 5

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