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Writers at school


Angela Leuck



Angela Leuck

The author began writing haiku in 1999. In an effort to meet others writing this form of poetry, she founded a Montreal haiku group that meets on a monthly basis. She also founded and organized "Haiku at the Garden," a weekend of haiku readings and workshops held at the Japanese Pavilion of the Montreal Botanical Garden. This event included English, French and Japanese poets. The author’s first edited book, Sun Through the Blinds: Montreal Haiku Today, is a collection of haiku by poets who participated in one of the three years of "Haiku at the Garden." Angela Leuck then edited two more poetry collections: "Tulip Haiku" (Shoreline, 2004) and "Rose Haiku for Flower Lovers and Gardeners" (Price-Patterson, 2005). Her own collection entitled "Flower Heart: Haiku" (Blue Ginkgo) was published in 2006, followed by two chapbooks, "Haiku White" and "Haiku Noir" (Carve, 2007). Two more poetry collections are forthcoming from Inkling press in Edmonton: "Garden Meditations: Tanka" and "A Cicada in the Cosmos: Flower Tanka." The author is deeply committed to creating a greater awareness of Japanese short poetry forms and currently holds the position of Vice President of Haiku Canada. She also co-founded Tanka Canada and its biannual journal "Gusts", which she edited for its first year. The author is currently working on a "Haiku for Teens" anthology. Her haiku and tanka have been published in journals around the world. She has won a number of awards for her poetry, has been a guest judge for several poetry contests and was poet-in-residence on the site.

Suggested reading*

Flower Heart
Rose Haiku for Flower Lovers and Gardeners

*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

Haiku is often called the most democratic form of poetry in that anyone of practically any age can learn to write it well. Young people can often write very good haiku, and the author sees her role as one of enabling students to discover and develop their own personal and authentic voice through haiku. Angela Leuck follows the tradition of teaching haiku that was developed in Japan, which involves an anonymous workshop approach. She usually tries to contact teachers before visiting the school and gives them a handout on how to introduce haiku to their students and how to take them on a haiku walk or "gingko", as it is known in Japanese. In this case, when the author arrives in the classroom students have already written their poems and have submitted them anonymously. The poems are then workshopped, and students are encouraged to explain which poems they like best and why. Anonymity means that everyone can discuss poems freely without fear of being personally criticized.

For a longer workshop, there is the possibility of working on a small handmade book of the workshopped poems. In both Japan and North America, there is a tradition of presenting haiku in the form of handmade cards or books. The author has a rare collection of unique, limited edition books that she likes to show to students to give them an idea of the possibilities from which they can choose, either as a class or individually, to present their haiku to fellow students, family and friends.

Other examples of activities

Angela Leuck has always been interested in the fact that Japan has produced both haiku and sushi. Each adheres to the principle of the small and beautifully formed package. Haiku is for the mind and senses; sushi is for the stomach and also the senses. The author would thus be interested in presenting an introduction to making vegetarian sushi, which is very easy to prepare with simple ingredients, and using this as a metaphor for discussing and writing haiku.

Another technique that she would like to try is to take students on a walk around the school yard or to a local park or to the Japanese Garden of the Montreal Botanical Garden. This would provide a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and the seasons, which is at the core of haiku. Haiku is a way of becoming more aware of the natural world around us and is a great opportunity to nurture in young people a respect for and a deeper understanding of nature. It is said that in Japan the love of nature is something that is taught in school through such activities as writing haiku. Nowadays, it is more important than ever for people to have a greater awareness of nature and its important role in people’s lives, even for our primarily urban society. The author’s books on flowers and gardens provide a gateway to further exploration of the world of flowers and plants.

Special conditions

For information

Angela Leuck
Phone : 514 766-3782
Email :

Subject to taxes (GST, PST)



Primary 5, Primary 6, Secondary 1, Secondary 2, Secondary 3, Secondary 4, Secondary 5

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