Tab staffers Sam Risak and Tryphena Yeboah, along with Tab Editor Anna Leahy, wrote about the pandemic-instigated switch from in-person to online events for Literary Hub. They interviewed event organizers from book stores, festivals and conferences, universities, and more. The article asks what engagement and sales means for literary culture going forward. Check out “What Happens When Literary Events Move Online?“
The September issue is here—and it’s full of Book-Spine Poems for Pandemic Times.
The Idea Behind the September Issue
In 2013, New York-based artist Nina Kathchadourian published a collection of photographs of 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.” That project rested on the idea, in Dillon’s words, “that books are objects designed to be handled.”
We’ve been thinking about this project for a long time and about how Tab Journal might encourage found-and-constructed literary and visual art. From its inception, Tab Journal has explored relationships between print and digital forms, between text and image, between writer and reader. In book-spine poems, the reader of books becomes the writer of the poem. The lines are the books’ titles, so is the poem written or curated? Does the poem say as much about the writer–curator’s reading habits as it does about the subject of the poem that’s been constructed?
What’s on Whose Shelf?
After the pandemic changed ways we access libraries and physical bookstores, Tab Journal sought poems composed and formed by stacking physical books as objects designed to be handled. This issue of Book-Spine Poems for Pandemic Times is a selection of both individuals’ bookshelves and what’s on people’s minds at this historical moment. Of course, it’s also a collection of remarkable, intriguing poems using shared constraints.
In reading this issue, it’s important also to consider who has a bookshelf at home and what that means. One recent global study indicated that kids who grow up with books in the home tend to perform better academically. A home library is likely a side effect of the sort of wealth and education that open doors as much as it is part of a learning environment that builds skills and empathy that foster achievement. We hope that this issue of Tab Journal opens a larger conversation about books in our lives.
…read more while September is the Current Issue.
Genevieve Kaplan‘s new book, (aviary), is now available. Genevieve is the Guest Curator for the 2020 Tabula Poetica reading series. Her poetry first appeared in Tab Journal n the March 2016 issue and also appeared in the September 2017 issue, when she was a visiting poet in the Tabula Poetica series. She started teaching at Chapman University the following year.
Jen Karetnick, whose poem appears in the July 2020 issue (current issue), wrote a humorous piece for Submittable titled “Disgruntled Student Who Never Attended Online Composition Course Evaluates Professor Via Her Bitmoji.”
Katherine E. Young‘s poem also appeared in the July 2020 issue. She recently appeared on Accents Radio Show to talk with Katerina Stoykova about translation. A review of a book Katerina translated appeared in the July 2017 issue of Tab Journal.
Tab staffer Tryphena Yeboah had a second short story published by Narrative this summer. She also wrote about her first experience protesting in the United States. Her poetry chapbook is available for pre-order and ships on September 8; it’s part of the New-Generation African Poets boxed set from Akashic Books.
Tab staffer Jason Thornberry, a musician himself, wrote about musician Junior Murvin and police brutality for Dissident Voice this summer.
Tab Editor Anna Leahy won the 2018 Nonfiction Award from Los Angeles Review. “A Brief Encyclopedia of My Mother’s Cancer” was published online this summer.
Tab Creative Director Claudine Jaenichen is working with FEMA to develop accessible visual tools for communication information about COVID-19. Her talk “Visual + Effective Communication for Emergency Information” is available on YouTube.
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.
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.
March Issue published!
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.
TAB at AWP
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 Weekly lists 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.
Exhibit featuring Lorene Delany-Ullman
TAB poet Lorene Delany-Ullman and artist Jody Servon are exhibiting “Saved: Objects of the Dead” at the Viewpoint Gallery at the University of California, Irvine, through February 17. This photography-poetry collaboration “Our project documents the lives, deaths and relationships of individuals whose objects are imbued with their emotional and physical senses, then saved by loved ones and friends as an affirmation of their love,” Servon told the LA Times.
Fourth Sundays at Claremont Library
TAB poet Genevieve Kaplan is one of the organizers of the Fourth Sundays reading series. The January event featured TAB poet Patty Seyburn. On May 24, both Kaplan and TAB poet Lynne Thompson will read from their work.
Poems by both Seyburn and Thompson are featured in the Current Issue of TAB and were also featured in our very first issue in 2013. Kaplan’s work has appeared in Volume 4, Volume 5, and the print issue of Volume 6, after which she also began teaching at Chapman University. Her new book (aviary) is forthcoming from Veliz Books.
Exhibit curated by Nancy Kuhl
TAB poet Nancy Kuhl has curated the exhibit “Travel Papers in American Literature” at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, where she oversees the American poetry collection. The exhibit is set to run May 11, 2020, through August 9, 2020.
Send us your news…
If you’re a TAB poet with a new or forthcoming book or know of an accomplishment by someone whose work we’ve published, we’d like to hear about it. We also share local poetry event info with the MFA students at Chapman University. You can use the Contact form on the website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “TAB poet news.”