Archives for posts with tag: learning

bread chernetskaya licensed
With activities and movement curtailed during the pandemic, many of us are spending our quarantine-in-place time learning or practicing new skills—with bread baking as a popular choice. This idea and a recent Twitter thread from Heather Christle about “poems in the form of instructions” have inspired the HOW TO Poetry and Prose Series. What have you learned how to do? What do you already know how to do? What would you like to learn how to do? Your answers can range from the practical (how to fix a leaky faucet) to the abstract (how to heal a country). If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a link to “How To” poems from other authors.

PROMPT: Tell us how to do something (nothing R-rated or X-rated, please)—it could be something you’ve learned, imagined, or wish for—in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer—this word limit also applies to prose poems). We prefer narrative work written from a personal perspective, and avoid material that attempts to speak for the world at large or comes across as didactic or preachy.

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or prose. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish the piece on social media. We are a nonprofit blog and offer no monetary compensation to contributors—the main benefit to you is that we will publicize your work to our 10,000+ followers. If your piece was previously published, please tell us where/when so we can credit the original publisher.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems and prose in the Silver Birch Press HOW TO Poetry and Prose Series starting in late February 2021. We’ll also feature the work on Twitter and Facebook.

SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, email address). Also list your home state or country.

3. In the same MS Word document, include a one-paragraph author’s bio, written in the third person. You are encouraged to include links to your books, websites, and social media accounts — we want to help promote you!

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/prose or creative process written in the first person (this is optional — but encouraged).

5. Send a photo of yourself as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones1.jpg, Jones2.jpg).

6. Email to sbpsubmissions@gmail.com—and put “HOW TO” in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, March 7, 2021

We look forward to learning from (and about) you! 

Photo by Chernetskaya, used by permission.

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THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
by LeeAnne McIlroy Langton

I noticed that most of my students
Were gazing longingly out the window
On an unusually beautiful
Southern California morning
I paused in my lecture to discover
That they were collectively noticing the unusual fruit
Exploding on the tree just outside our window
“What kind of fruit is that?”
They wondered with more curiosity than
They had ever shown for Plato or Rousseau
And so I told them about the pomegranate
How according to the Q’uran, it filled the gardens of paradise
How its image had once adorned the temples of Solomon
How it doomed Persephone to Hades
How it symbolizes prosperity and fertility in Hinduism
How it came here to us:
From the Iranian Plateaus to Turkey
Across the Mediterranean and transported across the oceans
By the Spanish conquistadors
How the city of Kandahar—now bombed and ravaged—
Was once reputed to have the finest pomegranates in the world
I told them that this was my favorite tree
And then we all went outside for a moment—
To marvel at this tree
Just staring for a moment
While the wind blew
Across our faces, a tender caress across the ages
And then the moment was gone—
The next day I walked into class
And someone, anonymously, had placed a single pomegranate
On my desk at the front of the class,
An altar before thirty students,
All newly baptized—
The red stain of pomegranate seeds outlining
Their smiles

Illustration: “Pomegranate Tree,” watercolor by Karina Zlotnikov, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish and facility for successfully pursuing the unsolved ones.”

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

PHOTO: President Abraham Lincoln and his 11-year-old son Tad, 1864