Tab Journal welcomes the following new staff: Ian Koh, Vesper North, and Lydia Pejovic. All are current students in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chapman University. They join alums Liz Harmer, Daniel Miess, Sam Risak, Laila Shikaki, and Tryphena Yeboah as submissions readers and book reviews for Tab Journal. Bios for all of us are on the website’s Staff page.
Ian Koh (he/him) moved to California for studies from Singapore several years ago. He is an Dual MFA/MA student at Chapman University. His work can be found in Forth Magazine, Inkslinger, and others.
Vesper North (no pronouns) is a writer and artist based in Orange County, CA. North teaches English and communications and is a contributor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Lydia Pejovic (she/her) is a writer and Dual MA/MFA student at Chapman University. She earned her BA in English from the University of San Diego. Her work has been published in Calliope Art & Literary Magazine and Voices Magazine and is forthcoming in others. See more at https://www.lydiapejovic.com.
Each year, Tab Journal makes changes to how we do things. We use a different design for the print issue each year and carry elements of that design into the online issues. Our staff evolves. Our contributors evolve. But there’s even more to it.
In 2019, for example, we published the print issue in January and then spent the rest of the year on hiatus as we updated our Archives for accessibility. In 2020, we launched this new website with an accessible-ready theme/template and made style decisions based on accessibility. Admittedly, it was a little uncomfortable at first for those of us steeped in design principles from days of yore to allow widow and orphan lines, but we understand that when editors “fix” these traditional design “flaws,” e-readers get confused. At Tab Journal, we try to make bold leaps and challenge our habits. We continue to take specific actions in hopes of doing better each year.
For 2021, Tab Journal now requests pronouns on the Submittable form and includes pronouns in contributor notes and staff bios. This change in submission policy and style guide reflects our larger commitment to fostering inclusion through a literary project that welcomes a variety of experiences, backgrounds, and aesthetics.
We have also expanded the use of audio recording for all poems we publish, including those in the print issue. While many readers may appreciate hearing the poems read by the poets themselves or our staff, the decision is driven by our hope that those with low vision have increased access to the creative work we publish. This year, Jason Thornberry serves in a two-year funded Tab staff position focused on diversity and inclusion. He writes book reviews, reads poem submissions, does the audio recordings when poets prefer, and represents Tab Journal on two disability groups on campus. Jason is a neurodivergent writer and survivor of traumatic brain injury who is publishing a lot of his own writing in addition to working on Tab Journal.
This spring, we will invite and train additional staff to expand the range of experiences, backgrounds, and aesthetics that our staff represents. An expanded staff will also allow us to develop a stronger social media plan over the course of this year and encourage submissions that represent the diversity of voices in our culture. We hope you’ll keep reading and sharing Tab Journal as this project continues to evolve.
If you’d like to get monthly updates from Tab Journal, including special calls for submissions, please sign up for Tab Musings.
Yay! The new print issue of Tab Journal is ready for readers. This issue launches Volume 9 with a large-format design on newsprint and features the work of ten poets, most of whom are making their first appearance in Tab Journal. Before you dive into the poems, we wanted to share this issue’s backstory.
This print issue has been created entirely during a time of quarantine as the world underwent the isolation and anxieties of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, we reflected in this issue on concepts of time—as a sense of place, as space, as structure, as the visual experience of light and dark. Time has an impact on psychology; we can lose time or lose track of time. Time has a history of visual representation and documentation as well. This year’s print issue explores visual expressions of time warping, time-traveling, and the chronology and the kaleidoscope of time-keeping. Here, the images and texts engage in ideas of process over time, such as healing or growth.
Also as a result of the pandemic, the Tab staff has very limited access to the office and mail room, and our work continues to be done remotely. We are in the process of getting copies to contributors, not only this issue’s contributors but, as always, to all whose work has appeared in Tab Journal over the entirety of its publication history. We also welcome requests for copies, especially by teachers and librarians to use in discussions and by readers with low hearing; please use the Contact form to make a request. We’re excited to distribute this amazing issue as widely as possible and as soon as possible, given the current constraints.
We hope you’ll look at the Current Issue online and share it with others. Usually, we don’t include the entirety of the print issue online and instead upload only the Table of Contents and elements that convey the new design. Because of pandemic-related delays in mailing, we have uploaded the PDF version of the whole issue as well as audio recordings of all the poems for increased accessibility. Because print offers a very different reading experience than online, we don’t want to replicate the print issue online. The issue uses large-format newsprint, a material mode that further suggests ways we consider time, news, and cultural documents in a so-called post-truth or post-factual age that has seen newspaper staff and circulation decline dramatically. Our website and your screen, therefore, can’t convey how Keith S. Wilson’s poem gallops across the page, and you can’t cut out and fold Amelia L. Williams’s cootie catcher poem to experiment with its possible iterations. Poetry’s ink won’t rub off on your fingers here.
If you’d like to receive a monthly recap of Tab Musings, please sign up for our newsletter. We have lots of plans for 2021! We also encourage you to follow Tab Journal on Twitter and Facebook.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.