Harley, Avis

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Harley, Avis


Married; children: one son. Education: University of British Columbia, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Opera, gardening, drawing.


Home—Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Teacher and poet. Has taught in Canada and the United Kingdom; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, former instructor in language education. Mentor for Vancouver School Board; presenter in schools.



Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry, Wordsong (Honesdale, PA), 2000.

Leap into Poetry: More ABC's of Poetry, Wordsong (Honesdale, PA), 2001.

Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems, photographs by Margaret Butschler, Wordsong (Honesdale, PA), 2006.


Avis Harley is a Canadian poet and teacher who has also taught poetry at the University of British Columbia. After retiring from teaching, Harley turned to creating playful self-illustrated poetry collections such as Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry and the companion volume Leap into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry. Joining with photographer Margaret Butschler, she has also collected twenty-seven poems inspired by Butschler's work in Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems. Her "well crafted" verses were deemed "accessible to young readers, but clever enough to hold the interest of older children" by School Library Journal contributor Donna Cardon. Harley continues to enjoy working with young poets on visits to classrooms in her native British Columbia.

In Fly with Poetry Harley defines forms of poetry, such as acrostic, blank verse, haiku, limerick, and metaphor, and provides twenty-seven short insect-themed poems as examples of each. Leap into Poetry adds more forms, adding ballad, epitaph, and palindrome to readers' verse arsenals. In School Library Journal, Karey Wehner wrote that Fly with Poetry is a "brief guide [that] will make a good companion volume to more detailed introductions to creative writing." Leap into Poetry was recommended by a Kirkus Reviews contributor as "a combination poetry book, instruction manual, and collection of bug facts."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, August 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems, p. 70.

Book Report, January-February, 2002, Jan Aldrich Solow, review of Leap into Poetry: More ABC's of Poetry, p. 67.

Canadian Review of Materials, June 21, 2001, review of Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry; June 21, 2002, review of Leap into Poetry.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of Leap into Poetry, p. 1290; October 1, 2006, review of Saltwater Poems, p. 1014.

Resource Links, April, 2002, Ann Abel, review of Leap into Poetry, p. 22.

School Library Journal, September, 2000, Karey Wehner, review of Fly with Poetry, p. 217; October, 2001, Nina Lindsay, review of Leap into Poetry, p. 185; October, 2006, Donna Cardon, review of Sea Stars, p. 136.