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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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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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Exciting News Important Update New Issue

New Issue, New Name

Table of content for vol.8 issue 2

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.