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Exciting News

Tab’s Pushcart Nominations!

Tab Journal has nominated the following six poems for a Pushcart Prize. This list of poems isn’t what’s best or what’s most popular but, rather, represents the mix of voices and aesthetics of Tab Journal‘s range. Because we understand text in relation to how the reading experience is designed, we also considered the apparent constraints of the Pushcart Prize volume’s design. We have a terrific batch of poems here!

We’re grateful that each of these poets and many more trusted us with their work. Cross your fingers for a Tab Journal Pushcart win this year. And read the issues in Volume 10 for these poems and many others.

Image of black and white collage with reflective silver textures with writing "space before text"

“Into Wildflower Into Field”
Kai Coggin | https://www.kaicoggin.com
Issue #2 (March; online)

“Still Life”
Jenny Qi | https://jqiwriter.com
Issue #2 (March; online)

“an essence always is lost in translation, but also an essence is thereby created:”
Ed Go
Issue #4 (July; online)

“How Not to Build a Model Rocket”
Orlando Ricardo Menes | https://www.orlandoricardomenes.com
Issue #4 (July; online)

“Glome” with Artist Statement
Kazim Ali | https://www.kazimali.com
Issue #5 (September: online)

“The Apiary Library and Falling Back in Love”
Alison Lubar | https://www.alisonlubar.com
Issue #5 (September; online)

Tab Journal has published one poem that’s won a Pushcart Prize. “Snow White” by Chloe Honum was published in Volume 2 (2014) and appeared in Pushcart Prize XL (2016).

#poetry #PushcartPrize

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Welcome New Tab Staff

Emily Velasquez has joined the Tab Journal staff and is now reading submissions. She earned her BA at Cal State Fullerton and is now a Dual MA/MFA student at Chapman University.

New Tab Staff Emily Velasquez

Emily Velasquez has written for Soapberry Review, an online journal dedicated to amplifying the work of Asian American writers and provide thoughtful critical analysis of their work. Soapberry Review was launched earlier this year by another Chapman MA/MFA student, Audrey Fong, with essayist and tech worker Sarah Sukardi.

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Congrats to Poet Laureate Ada Limón

Congratulations to Ada Limón, named 24th Poet Laureate of the United States. What marvelous news for poetry and culture.

In the Current Issue (July 2022) of Tab Journal, Ian Koh reviews Limón’s new book, The Hurting Kind:

In these poems, there is something in the reflecting and the reflection that is about resilience and healing, which are just as essential as sleeping and breathing. Change is its own process. It can seem chaotic, or it can be appreciated, seeing the miracles in the changing of the seasons, which is also how the sections in this collection are structured. To see change as miraculous is admirable because it nourishes appreciation of patience and love instead of revealing endurance as gullibility and foolishness.

Tabula Poetica hosted Ada Limón in 2017 for a Poetry Talk and a Poetry Reading. It was a memorable day with with an amazing poet, and we’re happy to have the videos to share with Tab Journal readers.

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Tab & Disability Pride Month

July 2022 marks 32 years of celebrating Disability Pride Month, which began after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tab Journal joins the disability community in appreciating and understanding the range of human ability and the diversity that can be found within the disabled community. We think it fitting to discuss the steps some of our staff are taking to create more inclusive experiences.

Tab Journal’s Creative Director, Claudine Jaenichen, piloted a course this past spring at Chapman University entitled “Disability, Accessibility, and Design.”

[This course] presents a body of work, methodologies, and creative scholarship from a diverse group of designers, creative practitioners, and researchers representing neurodiversity, sensory, physical, cognitive, and cultural diversity within the visible and invisible disabled community. The course uses project-based learning focusing on the foundations of design. Students learn the fundamental principles of accessibility and prepare for further study in inclusive and collaborative design work.

TAB editorial staff at desk
Creative Director Claudine Jaenichen is standing between a workshop attendee (left) and Editor Anna Leahy (right) as they look at the print issues of Volume 1 and 2.

Designing for the disabled community is important for representation and understanding. The human-made world in which we live is most often built with normative bodies and abilities in mind. Claudine Jaenichen’s class is exciting because it challenges these assumptions. Students are calling for it to become a required course in the Graphic Design major.

Meanwhile, Tab Journal‘s Editor, Anna Leahy, has spent the last two years heading the effort to launch a Health Humanities program at Chapman University. The minor in Health Humanities complements the long-standing Disability Studies minor, and the college’s annual Engaging the World program will focus on health equity in Fall 2023. Leahy committed herself to this effort while working on her article for The Washington Post celebrating the 30th anniversary of ADA.

In addition, this year, Editor Anna Leahy and Creative Director Claudine Jaenichen have been awarded a Scholarly/Creative Activity Grant from Chapman University to explore “Crip Time, Poetry Curation, and Design Thinking: New Directions for Tab Journal” in 2022-2023. As part of this exploration, Leahy and Jaenichen are meeting with a disabled designer this month, considering how we can avoid putting time and effort into disability dongles (see Liz Jackson’s work), and investigating best practices for visual poetry. We’re also seeking out language and developing practices that reflect our varied abilities and schedules as staff, contributors, and readers.

Though Tab Journal has not explicitly recruited staff who identify as D/disabled, our survey last year indicated that many of our staff identify as having a disability. By representing the disability community in our staff demographics, we hope to ensure a range of perspectives and ideas at play in the literary community.

How are you celebrating Disability Pride Month? 

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Tab July Issue: More about Contributors

Did you like what you read in the Current Issue (July 2022) of Tab Journal? We want to share more of what our amazing contributors are up to, so here are some links to their websites, social media, and more.

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Allison Blevins: http://allisonblevins.com/

Joshua Davis: https://www.joshuadavispoet.com/

Brenda Cárdenas: https://twitter.com/CardenasBrendaE

Ed Go: https://edgosblog.wordpress.com/

Alicia Byrne Keane: https://twitter.com/keane_byrne

Orlando Ricardo Menes: https://www.orlandoricardomenes.com/

Dan Murphy: https://twitter.com/danielconor

Donna Vorreyer: http://donnavorreyer.com/

Kory Wells: https://korywells.com/

Kirby Olson: Kirby Olson is a professor at SUNY Delhi in the western Catskills. His published books include Gregory Corso: Doubting Thomist (Southern Illinois UP 2002), and Andrei Codrescu and the Myth of America (McFarland 2006) and Comedy after Postmodernism (Texas Tech UP 2000).

Ian Koh: https://twitter.com/iannkoh

Thanks to these wonderful writers for trusting Tab Journal with their work!

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Tab Staff Q&A

What is your favorite piece that has been published in Tab Journal?

Liz Harmer: I love the weirdness and ecstasy of Hilary King’s “Icebreaker with Neruda” in this year’s print issue.

Sam Risak: “Hop In, Clive” by Hilary King. As someone raised in rural Florida, I have spent a decent amount of time on golf carts, and I love how King calls out C.S. Lewis for not understanding joy by stating he obviously “never careened down / a Florida road, a tanned tangle / of cousins hanging off the back.”

Vesper North: For me, “Migration Seasons” by Dia Roth in the January issue of Volume 9.

What’s the most recent poetry book you’ve read?

Vesper North: Blue in Green by Chiyuma Elliot.

Jay Dye: The Nuclear Shadows of Palm Trees by Nikolai Garcia. I picked it up on a whim at LibroMobile in DTSA [Downton Santa Ana] because I liked the title. Most of the poems are about LA, so it’s made me reminisce of the time I spent living there in 2016-2017.

Sam Risak: The Earth Is Not Flat by Katharine Coles. I picked up this collection at AWP, and while I have not yet finished it, I can already tell it’s a work I will read more than once. Coles wrote the book through the Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, and each poem feels like it edges me slightly closer to seeing a landscape that we know so little about. Or, if not seeing it, then at least asking the questions such an overwhelming environment would incite. 

Liz Harmer: I have devoured, several times, Diane Seuss’s frank: sonnets. [And the review appears in Tab Journal Issue 2 (March), Volume 9 (2021).]

How do you get inspiration to write poetry? 

Liz Harmer: Inspiration comes from small feelings and images or scraps of language that arise here and there. Something odd in the atmosphere or the view. A novel way of speaking. 

Vesper North: Images will pop into my head–like a nebula or an empty highway or sometimes it’s an emotion that I visualize in color and shape, and I’ll think, I’ll try to turn that into a poem. 

Jay Dye: I focus on what I have been feeling, reading, and thinking about lately. If all else fails, I silence my inner critic and see what comes out. With a little work, messy and uninspired drafts can turn into some pretty good poetry.

Sam Risak: I usually find inspiration before I know what to do with it. I’ll see or hear something that grabs my attention (which can be anything from an interesting texture of algae to some fact I heard on Science Friday) and take note of it with a photo or on a piece of paper. Later, when I go to write a poem, I think about how I can give language to that cool “thing.” It’s only once I have the language down on paper that I’m able to figure out why that “thing” mattered to me.

Let’s change the topic, just for fun. If you could choose to be an animal, what animal would you be and why?

Sam Risak: Raccoon. I’m a scavenger. I eat everything that’s on my plate and then try to steal whatever I can off everyone else’s. And, if I’m being honest, the food doesn’t necessarily even have to be on a plate. If it’s been thrown out but isn’t touching anything too suspicious, that’s fair game, too. 

Jay Dye: I think I would be an octopus. Their powers of metamorphosis are incredible and they’re very smart. It would also be a lot of fun to explore the ocean.

Liz Harmer: My answer has always been that I’d choose to be a tiger, and I’ll stick with that out of loyalty to my childhood self.

Vesper North: Phoenix–what’s not to like about a phoenix.

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Food Allergy Awareness Week & Close Reading

a special post by Lydia Pejovic

From as young as three years old, I remember carefully reading ingredients on wrappers, bags, boxes, nutritional facts PDFs. My severe food allergies made me realize that, when my parents were not around, I had to rely on my own knowledge to keep myself safe. When teachers would hand out snacks at school, I would look at them suspiciously, turning the packages over in my hand and searching the label for keywords like eggs, egg albumen, lecithin (soy lecithin was okay), almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, coconut, macadamia. Oftentimes, my teachers would gently remind me that I had this same snack just the other day and offer to open the package themselves, just to get me to start acting like a normal child, one who didn’t obsessively read and reread and reread cookie wrappers.

“I can’t be sure you checked. My parents need me to check.”

Every year, my mom would take me to the allergist to get the same sort of spiel about my allergies. Normally, a very elderly man with a clipboard and cold hands would ask me if anything had changed (it hadn’t), and then say, “It’s likely your daughter will grow out of her allergies. Many children are able to wake up and eat things they were allergic to out of the blue!”

I always sensed that “growing out” of my allergies was impossible for me. Maybe I thwarted the possibility through sheer frustration at how unlikely supposed mystery cures seemed, but I did not grow out of my allergies. My food restrictions are still severe: I don’t allow roommates to keep or cook eggs in the house (cross-contamination), I can’t go into breakfast restaurants (egg proteins travel in the air and give me hives, plus the possibility of cross-contamination), I don’t touch walnut wood (it makes me break out in a rash), I can’t kiss my boyfriend if he’s eaten anything that contains nuts (he needs to brush his teeth first), and much more. 

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 8-14, 2022. Find out more at FARE.

However, despite the severity of my allergies, I cannot imagine my life without them. In fact, my allergies taught me to read carefully and to read a lot. I constantly had reading material, and that material mattered. The words written on those packages were life or death for me. I learned to value words, even seemingly boring ones. It’s significant that words mattered to me from a young age, that I was trained to read and react accordingly. In a funny way, my restrictions and challenges intertwined me more deeply with my first and greatest love: reading.

Growth can be found in the strangest of places. For me, it was found on the ingredient labels I had to, and still have to, read. I wouldn’t choose to have food allergies, but they remind me that words matter. Even if I grew out of my allergies today (I won’t, I’m far too old for that) or if they were magically cured, I wouldn’t change my habits or mindset. And I think I’m satisfied with that because that’s part of who I am.

Tab Communications Coordinator Lydia Pejovic
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Events Poem Prompt

April 29: Poem in Your Pocket Day

It’s National Poetry Month, and Friday, April 29, is this year’s Poem in Your Pocket Day! Feel free to peruse the Current Issue and the Archives of Tab Journal for some great pocket poem options.

In fact, the poems you’ll find here at TabJournal can be shared easily in visual and audio versions on social media with the hashtags #PocketPoem and #TabJournal. Leave the poem open on your phone so you can kick off your Friday meeting with a recitation. Or to keep a copy in your physical pocket, you can print an individual poem from an issue PDF.

Black and white image with the Tab Journal Logo and collage of reflective minerals and textures
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Interview: Tab Contributing Editors Ruben Quesada & Lynne Thompson

As part of our celebration of National Poetry Month, Tab Journal Communications Coordinator Lydia Pejovic posed a few questions to our new Contributing Editors Ruben Quesada and Lynne Thompson both about their own interests in poetry and about the larger culture of poetry.

What about Tab Journal interested you enough to join the staff as a Contributing Editor?

Lynne Thompson: Tab Journal’s reputation as a literary journal that not only values text but exalts that text by pairing it with original and ever-changing graphic design has always made it a top-notch journal in my view. In addition, Tab’s commitment to a practice of equity and diversity in selecting its contributors, making it a policy that becomes integral and systemic in its editorial policy, made me excited to take on this role. 

Ruben Quesada: I’m impressed by Tab Journal’s visual elements. Fewer literary journals combine visual and literary aesthetics. I’m excited to introduce this journal to new readers and lovers of art and literature. 

What particular perspectives or skills do you bring to Tab Journal

Ruben Quesada: I’ve been editing literary journals for the past decade, and each journal I’ve worked with has taught me something new about editing. I believe that editing and composing an issue is similar to writing a poem. It is a practice of building an experience for the reader. With each iteration of an issue, I learn more about the importance of the editorial role. The experience reminds me of editing my work. As a jpurnal editor, I have the privilege of shaping readership and celebrating work that introduces me to new perspectives and reminds me about the beauty of life. 

Lynne Thompson: Fighting for equity for the underserved and marginalized has been a tenet of my work, first as an attorney, and now as a poet. In particular, in my role as L.A.’s Poet Laureate, I’ve worked to hone my skills to bring the broadest range of voices possible to public awareness on my podcast, Poems On Air.

When you review and select poems for publication, what are you looking to see? What about an ​individual poem make an impression on you? 

Lynne Thompson: I look, first and foremost, for the music in a poem’s lines. That music might be blues or Beethoven, might be Rhiannon Giddens or classical guitar, but whatever the genre, the music is always the most beguiling way in for me. 

Ruben Quesada: As a critic and editor, I try to find the question a poem or collection attempts to answer. An individual poem may clarify something, but there aren’t many poems that do this with insight and grace. Language should be composed thoughtfully. I’m excited about poems that draw my attention to music and storytelling. Form and content vary, but I believe all writing is a form of storytelling. 

What’s exciting about poetry right now?  

Ruben Quesada: I’ve always been excited about a poem’s imagination and language. I’m interested when a poem moves beyond the mundane in content and form. Poems are about the meaning of language and the beauty of imagination. Writing poetry is a practice made simply for its intellect and style. Poetry is an art that is practiced and not a profession. Yet, anti-capitalists will decry the need to be paid for labor. What excites me about poetry right now is its growing loss of value. Poetry is too focused on the poem’s maker as a token of the art and less on the art itself. 

Lynne Thompson: Despite the nightmare that has been the pandemic that is entering its third year, poets have been deeply ensconced in their craft as evidenced from the “gotta-buy-it” books from visionaries like Randall Horton‘s {289-128}and Mai Der Vang’s Yellow Rain, among too many other truly amazing books to name. I’m most excited that the creative impulse survives like a green shoot bisecting hard ground.

How can poetry connect us to our communities?  

Lynne Thompson: The poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar recently recommended that poets write about communities other than our own. Her advice strikes me as a brilliant approach for us all to begin to understand and honor our individual communities and to look for ways to connect with them, to empathize.

Ruben Quesada: Over the past decade, I’ve become more interested in poetry’s intersection at various forms of media to create an experience that can transcend language and culture. In the early 20th century, poets responded to their age of the image. Long before film and television became widely accessible to audiences, poets created worlds of their own for readers. As communication becomes more entangled in multimedia, poetry will serve as a tool for literacy worldwide. 

Submissions are open now but will likely close by the end of May as the Editor, Contributing Editors, and Creative Director make content decisions for the July, September, and November issues.

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Tab Staff Updates

headshot of jay dye, who is smiling and has hair that falls longer than shoulders and bangs

Tab Journal is excited to welcome Jay Dye to the staff as an Assistant Editor. Our assistant editors play several roles, including evaluating submissions and writing book reviews.

Jay Dye (she/her) is a writer and artist from Orange County, CA. Her work has been published in CalliopeScribendi, and Sapere Aude. See more at https://jaydye.org.

headshot of ian ooh, who is wearing glasses and a jacket

We are also happy to share that Ian Koh has joined Narrative Magazine as an Assistant Poetry Editor. While this opportunity means that he can no longer evaluate submissions for Tab Journal, he is staying on staff as a book reviewer and to help out in other areas. Ian joins Chapman University MFA alum Mariana Samuda and soon-to-be-alum Paige Welsh on the Narrative staff.