Tab Journal staffers continue to work remotely this summer. While the pandemic slowed us down at first, we’re up to speed now, and the July issue is in production. We’re busy reviewing the submissions of Book-Spine Poems for Pandemic Times to be featured in the September issue. And we’re already filling the November issue and discussing design possibilities for next year’s print issue scheduled for January.
Because of all this, poem submissions are on hold for the time being, and we’ll put a hold on all other submissions soon. If you plan to submit to Tab Journal, you’ll have to wait a bit. Check back in August, when submissions will likely reopen.
Also in August, the dates for the Tabula Poetica series will be announced. Each visiting poet gives both a Talk and a Reading, which are open to the public and connected to both creative writing and literature classes at Chapman University. The events this year will be hosted virtually, so we’re working this summer on the format and platform to ensure an engaging and accessible literary experience for everyone who wants to participate.
If you haven’t yet read the Current Issue of Tab Journal, please take the time soon. The May issue features poems about the California coast by K-12 students that will make you smile.
Also, please follow Tab Journal on Twitter and Facebook. You can sign up for our occasional newsletter at the bottom of any page of the website.
On June 6, 2020, Tab Journal tweeted its solidarity with and support for the protesters calling for social justice and change in the United States. We can do better, and we understand that good intentions are not enough. In its decision-making, Tab Journal strives to become increasingly inclusive. The Editor and the Creative Director advocate for greater diversity and inclusion both in literary culture and communities and on the Chapman University campus, where this project is housed.
[Tab Journal stands] in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and Black communities across the country. We deplore the horrific murders of unarmed Black people by the police and the systemic racism in police forces, in educational and legal institutions, and throughout society. We support the protestors calling on us to say the names of victims of a compromised system of criminal justice: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Read, Tony McDade, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and many more.
[…] We must teach and learn this history and the dynamics of this present moment with an investment in education for a future of less shame, less suffering, less fear, less hate, and more justice, more hope, more peace.
We encourage everyone, including those of us who belong to marginalized communities, to hold honest conversations about anti-Blackness and discrimination with our own families, friends, and communities. Covid-19 continues to expose what we have already known to be the racial and social inequalities that our communities live through daily. We witnessed the rise of anti-Asian rhetoric and violence, disregard for “essential” immigrant workers, and staggering infection rates among Native Americans. We need to reimagine what it means to stand in solidarity with each other.
Tab Journal Special Feature: Book-Spine Poems for Pandemic Times Submission Deadline: June 15, 2020 See guidelines on our Submittable page.
For this special project on book-spine pandemic poems, Tab Journal seeks work that is composed and formed by stacking books so that each title serves as a line in the poem. The subject or theme of the poem should be related to the global pandemic and the ways it affects our lives. As such, these poems will become a curated archive of our bookshelves during this historical moment as well as found-and-constructed literary and visual art using specific constraints across the many possible iterations.
In recent weeks, you may have seen some book-spine poems for pandemic times on social media, but this sort of project isn’t new. In 2013, New York-based artist Nina Kathchadourian published a collection of photographs book spines called Sorted Books. In the book’s introduction, Brian Dillon writes, “it is as though the books have convened of their own accord like plants or insects—following secret or, in the case of more explicitly comic or narrative groupings, not-so-secret attractions.” We at Tab Journal have long been interested in this sort project that explores the relationship between text and image, various constraints that writers and artists choose or face, and ways “that books are objects designed to be handled.”
To submit a book-spine poem, please include:
a photograph of the book stack
the typed text of the poem
What to keep in mind as you prepare your book-spine poem for submission:
Avoid clutter in the background of the photograph.
The photograph should be high enough resolution (at least 300dpi at 100% scale) that it doesn’t get blurry when viewed at 4” x 6” size.
While the book titles are key, you might consider the typeface and spine color as well, or you may want to experiment with options if you have hardbacks with paper covers. Remember, for this project, image is text, and text is image.
The typed poem should maintain the line breaks established by the stack of books. However, feel free to consider punctuation, stanza breaks, and indents.
The text of poems published in Tab Journal will use our usual typeface family, Verdana, which includes italics and bold.
For this project only, it’s okay if the photograph (with or without typed text) has appeared on social media. However, the work you submit here must not have been published or distributed beyond your personal social media.
Chapman University (the institutional home of Tab Journal) shall have rights to publish electronically work accepted for this special feature. Publication rights revert to the author upon publication in Tab Journal, but we do retain permission to republish and to submit to other outlets such as the Pushcart Prizes. In addition, we require poets whose work is accepted to provide an audio file or give Tab Journal permission to make a recording.
Every May, Tab Journal publishes the winners and honorable mentions in the California Coastal Commission’s K-12 Poetry Contest. This year, we feature 19 of the state’s creative kids writing about the California coast, including audio recordings of many of them reading their original work. Let these poems in the Current Issue inspire you!
As part of the judging process, students in poetry at Chapman University read poems by young poets from kindergarten through high school to select the finalists. Annie Frankel, the California Coastal Commission’s Education Coordinator, oversees the final judging and works with the staff of Tab Journal to bring the poems to a wider audience.
Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions of the 2020 Coastal Poetry Contest!
Poetry students in the Chapman University MFA in Creative Writing will read from their work on Tuesday, May 19, at 7pm (PDT). Because of the global pandemic, this end-of-year celebration reading will be held online and hosted by Jim Blaylock (acting director) David Krausman (graduate programs coordinator).
TAB is housed at Chapman University, and students and alums of the MFA program serve on the staff. It’s difficult not to be able to celebrate their growth and achievements in person this May, so we’re making do with the opportunities we have. We’re incredibly proud of these students individually and together.
We are excited to share the March 2020 issue, featuring work by Nathaniel Dolton-Thornton, Vandana Khanna, Nancy Kuhl, January Pearson, Lois Roma-Deeley, Cecilia Woloch, and Tryphenah Yeboah. We look forward to hearing from readers, and we hope you share Tab Journal with friends.
If you missed the January print issue, you can see the Table of Contents in the Volume 8 (2020) Archives. There, we also share the thinking behind this year’s design, which strives to be inclusive as well as innovative. And if you’d like a copy of the print issue, you can use the Contact form on the website to request one. Unfortunately, because Chapman University is under a stay-at-home order, we are not able to mail it out right away.
TAB vs. Tab Journal
Going forward, we’ll refer to TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics by the informal name Tab Journal. In the past, we’ve used the word “TAB” in all caps to refer to our project, but we realized that e-readers read that as the distinct letters “T-A-B” as if it were an acronym. For greater accessibility, we’ve now adopted Tab Journal as our informal name. For citations and the ISSN, we retain the official name TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics.
Though it’s often difficult now to sustain attention for reading during this global pandemic, here’s what I’ve found useful during this challenging time.
COVID-19 Serious Reading
Last week, The New York Review of Books published a moving account by Leslie Jamison about her experiences with COVID-19 a month after filing for divorce. I’ve taught Jamison’s work before and found this piece especially powerful. For something less personal and differently though provoking, I recommend Ed Yong’s piece “How Will the Coronavirus End?” at The Atlantic. Though I’m trying not to get overwhelmed by the news, I am finding some writing about COVID-19 that sticks with me.
COVID-19 Light Reading
I also want to share a few links to pieces that offer a little levity in the last couple of weeks:
In light of this past month’s horrific news of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the TAB staff extend our heartfelt wishes that writers and readers everywhere are taking care, staying at home, and washing hands. We also extend our condolences to the family of playwright Terrence McNally, who visited Chapman University just over a year ago.
COVID-19 & the next issue
Here in California, our governor issued the stay-at-home order on March 19. Chapman University, where TAB is housed, had switched from in-person to online teaching a week earlier, and university staff who could work from home had already started that transition. You can read the university’s various statements and see the sorts of resources that have been developed by checking the COVID-19 section of the university’s website. We’re glad university leaders are doing what’s urgent and also making sure that our community is supported as much as possible as we adjust to this challenging situation.
This new way of working for TAB came when we were moving from the editorial stage to the production stage for the March issue, which is to be the first online issue at this website. This new platform and our increased efforts to make TAB as accessible as possible mean that the work has slowed. The March issue will appear soon.
Free copies of TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics will again be available at our bookfair booth at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference on March 4-7, 2020. We’re at Booth #1543 in the middle of the bookfair hall.
As we head to San Antonio, we’re reading Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “San Antonio.”
We’re also looking at the Offsite Events so we can get out and see the city. Here are few that feature poets whose work has appeared in TAB.
On Wednesday at 7:00pm at Cos House, you can hear TAB poets Chloe Honum and Alison Benis White in the Tupelo Quarterly event.
On Thursday at 3:00-6:30pm in the Marriott’S Travis Room, TAB poet Allison Joseph is among the readers in Say My Name: Women Writers Readingpalooza.
Also on Thursday at 4:00-7:00pm at Candlelight Coffeehouse, catch TAB poet Denise Duhamel at the Nashville Review/Zone 3/Grist reading.
And on Thursday at 6:00-10:00pm at Smoke BBQ, TAB poet Hadara Bar-Nadav will read in Don’t Mess with Texts, featuring authors from Willow Springs and Florida Review.
In one more on Thursday at 7:00-10:00pm at Blue Star Brewing, TAB contributors Traci Brimhall and Oliver de la Paz will be part of the Baby-Sitters Club, a reading featuring 12 poets with new books sticky with parenthood.
On Friday at 7:00-9:00pm at Cos House, TAB poets Katie Farris and Jesse Lee Kercheval (they both published translation work in TAB) are part of Tupelo Press’s reading.
Stop by Bookfair Booth #1543 at the AWP Conference in San Antonio on March 7-10, 2020. We’ll give you a free copy of the print issue of TAB (we’re bringing copies from the last three years!), and we’re happy to chat about what we’re up to and what we’re looking for.
TAB Editor at Ragdale Residency
TAB Editor Anna Leahy is spending the month of February at Ragdale, which welcomes writers, visual artists, filmmakers, and composers. In addition to Leahy, current residents include Annia Ciezadlo, author of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War; Richard Pasquarelli, whose visual art draws from research into hoarding and OCD; Oliver Caplan, a composer of contemporary classical music; and more.
Leahy is working on poetry, essays, and research on accessibility and inclusion in poetry under an institutional grant from Chapman University. Much of the recent innovation to make TAB more accessible is a result of this grant.
Residency sessions run either 18 or 25 days, with special themed shorter sessions for collaborative groups. The next application deadline is May 15, 2020.
Guest Curator for Tabula Poetica
We’re excited to announce that TAB poet Genevieve Kaplan is curating the Tabula Poetica reading series for Fall 2020. The series usually brings three poets to the campus of Chapman University for a talk and a reading, and the series concludes with a reading by students in the MFA in Creative Writing program. Kaplan already serves as one of the organizers of the Fourth Sundays reading series at the Claremont Library in California and teaches poetry courses at Chapman University.
Tabula Poetica visiting poet and Chapman University Presidential Fellow Carolyn Forché‘s new poetry book, In the Lateness of the World, is forthcoming in March. Publisher’s Weeklylists this one as one of the spring’s most anticipated.
Tabula Poetica visiting poet and former visiting professor Victoria Chang‘s new poetry book, Obit, is forthcoming in April. This one has a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.
TAB poet Maggie Smith‘s new book is based on the tweets she wrote in the months following her divorce. It’s due out in May, and it’s already on this year’s lists from Marie Claire,Washington Post, and Parade. One of Smith’s poems appeared in last year’s print issue of TAB.
All three books are available for pre-order now, and TAB is convinced that all these books are going to get a lot of buzz.