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Pushcart Nominations!

design detail from Volume 8, 2020 print issue
TAB 2020

Tab Journal is thrilled to nominate the following poems from Volume 8 (2020) for a Pushcart Prize.

“Nocturne” by Vandana Khanna | Issue #2 (March)

“Unfriending the Dead” by Jen Karetnick | Issue #2 (March)

“Beloved” by Emily Capers | Issue #5 (September)

“There there” by Laura Stanfill | Issue #5 (September)

“Portrait of a Mouth” by Jake Bailey | Issue #6 (November)

“Signals” by Dia Roth | Issue #6 (November)

These were difficult decisions because we admire every poem we publish. We congratulate these poets and wish them good luck.

“Snow White” by Chloe Honum was published in Volume 2 (2014) and appeared in Pushcart Prize XL (2016).

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Tab Staff at LitHub

Tab staffers Sam Risak and Tryphena Yeboah collaborated with Tab Editor Anna Leahy on “What Happens When Literary Events Move Online?” at Literary Hub. This article explores how organizers of literary events across the country have been rethinking their goals and audiences and have been experimenting with online formats for author events of all kinds.

As part of their investigation of how the pandemic is changing literary culture, they interviewed Guy Choate of the Argenta Reading Series, historian Jaipreet Virdi, Steph Opitz of the Wordplay festival, Association of Writers and Writing Programs board member Stephanie Vanderslice, Victoria Chang of the Antioch University low-residency MFA Program, Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal, Genevieve Kaplan of the Tabula Poetica series, and mangers at The King’s English Bookshop and Writer’s Block Bookstore.

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Exciting News Important Update

Free Copies of Tab for Classes

Because of the pandemic, Tab Journal‘s ability to distribute copies of this year’s print issue was limited. We’re excited that Tab Staff will be able to send batches out again in November for class use.

Professors, teachers, community workshop leaders, and librarians who want to distribute copies can use the Contact form to request a batch of the 2020 print issue of Tab Journal; we’ll need your address and the number of copies needed. We also have copies of print issues from 2019 (translucent brochure) and 2018 (package of postcards) available. We realize that classes and literary events may be virtual and are happy to send copies to have on hand as a sign of optimism for gathering in person again.

We hope to welcome requests for individual copies soon as well.

Each January print issue is uniquely designed and, therefore, has a long shelf life as a literary object. The 2020 print issue features ten poems in an issue that readers can assemble. Because we aren’t able to pay contributors, Tab Journal doesn’t charge a submission fee and is distributed at no cost to readers.

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LitHub Article by Tab Staff

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?

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Exciting News New Issue

Book-Spine Poems!

The September issue is here—and it’s full of Book-Spine Poems for Pandemic Times.

The Idea Behind the September Issue

Stack of Books so that titles make a poem

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.

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Tab Poets: News

Two of Brian Satrom‘s poems appeared in the March 2015 issue of Tab Journal. Now, “From Within” and “Farther Than I Thought” are part of his first book, Starting Again.

page of a poetry book

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.

first page of an essay by Anna Leahy

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.

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Exciting News Important Update Submission Info

(Pandemic) Update

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.

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Exciting News Submission Info

Call: Book-Spine Poems

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:

  1. a photograph of the book stack
  2. the typed text of the poem
submit

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.

Stack of Books so that titles make a poem
Being Mortal

The first cell,
an elegant defense—
I am, I am, I am
all the wild hungers,
an arrangement of skin.
Be with me always
in accelerated silence.
The body keeps the score.
In the lateness of the world,
minor feelings
meander, spiral, explode.
When death takes something from you,
give it back.

from the bookshelf of Editor Anna Leahy
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Exciting News New Issue

New Issue: Our Youngest Poets!

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!

Table of content for vol.8 issue 3
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Events Exciting News

TAB: MFA Poetry Reading

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.