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(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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Submission Info

Reminder: Submissions Open Now

TAB staff are immersed in reading submissions now, and we’d like to see more this month. We have spots left in the very next issue, and your work might be just what we’re looking for. In fact, we’re especially interested in seeing more work from writers of color, work from writers of all genders, and work from writers with disabilities. Please share our this call for submissions with writers you know.

We’re looking for poems, of course, and you can read around in the TAB Archives to see what a wide aesthetic range we publish. Our Criticism Editor is looking for work that ranges from scholarly essay with a works cited to personal essay, as long as it has something to do with poetry. And if you have an interview with a poet or a poetry collaboration with a visual artist, we’d like to consider it.

Please read our submission guidelines before submitting. We’d like to be faced with so much good work in the next few weeks that our final decisions about the next couple of issues are really difficult.

If you’ll be at the AWP Conference in San Antonio, we’d be happy to talk with you in person. Stop by Bookfair Booth #1543 to pick up a free copy of our print issue.

TAB Submittable page listing three categories for submissions
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Exciting News Submission Info

TAB Submissions Open

TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics is now open for submissions, and we’re now using Submittable. We consider poetry, scholarly and creative essays that address poetry, interviews with poets, poetry-artwork hybrids, and other cool stuff. We don’t charge a fee to submit, and we consider simultaneous submissions.

Before you submit, we recommend that you do two things.

First, read around in the Archives. We’ve spent the last year making the archives more accessible and moving them to this website platform. Sorting through all the wonderful work we’ve published since 2013 has reinvigorated us and deepened our gratitude for the writers who’ve shared their work as part of TAB.

Second, read the submission guidelines. And share them with other writers who might be interested in what we’re doing at TAB.

Our staff looks forward to a pool of submissions that will make for some tough decisions.

We’d like to share TAB Musings via email. Subscribe here.

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TAB re-launches in 2020

In January 2020, TAB is re-launching with this new website, newly accessible issue archives, and a Submittable portal.

TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics started in 2013 as a collaboration between poet and essayist Anna Leahy and informational designer Claudine Jaenichen. You can find out more about the project and the staff on the About pages of the website.

The relationship of design and text has driven this project from the get-go and continues to shape how TAB creates a distinctive reading experience. We recognize that print and online formats work differently.

In our print issues, we have consciously used design to make readers aware of the materiality of text and the challenges of access. Our January 2020 print issue, however, explores issues of accessibility. In addition, the TAB archives have been updated for increased accessibility. The new TAB website (using an accessibility-ready theme) will change the look and feel of our online issues. TAB welcomes new design constraints and opportunities, for reading is always a designed experience. We urge you to read more about how design drives TAB in our Design Statement.

On December 9, 2019, Tabula Poetica celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reading by more than a dozen poets at Chapman University. Read more about this events at the Los Angeles Times. The Tabula Poetica reading series occurs every fall, with talks and readings by visiting poets and a reading by MFA in Creative Writing students. We look forward to the next decade of varied poetic voices and perspectives as part of the Chapman Experience.

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