Letter from the Editor – schoolhouse

Dear Reader, 

When we released issue no. VI, melody, a few months ago, we were shocked by the circumstances under which we were preparing and publishing it. For schoolhouse, the greatest consistency for most of us has been the continuation of that uncertainty. 

Still, we’re proud to bring this issue to you, to where you read it today. This is our shortest issue yet, and yet it’s one of our saddest. schoolhouse surprised us with the heaviness of its subjects. The circumstances and emotions that come through in these pieces are all too real. From COVID-19 and its effects on education to the horrors of school shootings and other violence, our contributors took the idea of schoolhouse to a far deeper level than we could have imagined when we set the theme over a year ago.

That isn’t to say that the entire issue focuses on the more negative aspects of its theme. Others capture other emotions—the bond between a teacher and their students, lessons and less conventional learning, playgrounds and petrichor. Like school days (and, dare I say, life), this issue moves along a spectrum of event and emotion, one that I’m honoured to help bring to life. 

As always, thank you to my wonderful team for putting in the work to build this issue, particularly amidst the chaos of 2020. And a repeated thank you to our “nest,” the submitters and contributors, readers (hi!), social media followers, book, merch, and lit mag purchasers, and even Ko-fi donors who make this production possible. Despite an unsteady year, we still have big plans for Nightingale & Sparrow, and can’t wait to have you along for that flight. 

And so, without further ado, welcome to our schoolhouse. Submitters wrote from our prompting: “We want your poems written in the margins of class notes and stories of school days. Tell us about your favourite teacher or what you learnt outside of the classroom. Show us your playgrounds and study halls.” We honestly weren’t prepared for the powerful work we got in response. Reencounter the strength that makes up teachers and students alike in pieces like Claire Marsden’s
Lesson One” and Yelaina Anton’s “We Were Just Kids,” and return to simpler days with “Easter Break” by Ann Howells and  [tires at playground] by Tucker Lieberman. 

Most importantly, enjoy schoolhouse, in all its iterations.

Juliette Sebock
Editor-in-Chief, Nightingale & Sparrow