Liliane Welch: Postcards from Europe

Liliane Welch was born in Esch-sur-Alzette in 1937 and soon felt limited by Luxembourg’s narrowness. When she turned nineteen she migrated to the United States and shortly after that moved to Canada. There, the beauty of the local landscape kindled in her a growing passion for poetry. Although working as a professor at Mount Allison University kept her busy in her later life, Welch published numerous works of poetry along the side of some critical essays. Despite her leaving Luxembourg, Welch never forgot her origins and went on countless trips to Europe. On the back of postcards, which she would send during her travels, she wrote short poems of several lines. She used to take notes in blank exam booklets from the university she taught at and used one of these booklets exclusively for transcripts of her mini-poems from Europe.

Welch was an avid admirer of the artists Giacometti, Cézanne and Segantini and was particularly fond of their paintings of the Alps. Her desire to experience the mountains in person continuously drew her to Europe: whenever she found time, Welch travelled overseas. In Switzerland, Italy and France, she climbed the Alps and admired nature, walking on the footsteps of the three painters. Those adventures brought Welch contentment. In an interview with Anne Compton, she adds: ‘when I explore the paths […] in the mountains, I also get pushed to write poems. I think in those concrete places, it has something to do with our relatedness to the earth or to reality’. In this context it is interesting to see that the element of light constantly appears in Welch’s mini-poems about the European mountain chain. Her senses seem to be flooded when she hikes through the Alps and she appears overwhelmed by their beauty. Similarly, she experiences the same kind of strong feelings when she talks about her homeland: On her journeys she longs for Canada’s ‘wilderness, marshes [and] imponderable woods’. Welch is attracted by Canada’s untouched nature, which promises her room for inspiration and contrasts with Europe’s cultivated woods and forests. When being asked about her citizenship, Welch proudly states: ‘I am a Canadian’. While the North American continent offers her home and comfort, Europe and its mountains hold journeys that need to be adventured.

When Liliane Welch passed away in 2010 in Hesperange, her husband Cyril handed Welch’s notes, including this booklet about her travels, to the Centre National de Littérature. In addition to these poems, the Liliane Welch fonds (L-190) incorporates manuscripts and letters to and from friends and academic acquaintances.


Compton, Anne, ‘Ascension: Liliane Welch Talks About Poetry’, in Canadian Literature, 166, (Autumn 2000).
Welch, Liliane, Word-House of a Grandchild (Charlottetown: Ragweed Press, 1987), p. 9.




Dernière mise à jour