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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Postcelebrating 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.
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 Calliope, Scribendi, and Sapere Aude. See more at https://jaydye.org.
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.
Tab Journal welcomes Contributing Editors Ruben Quesada and Lynne Thompson as part of the editorial team for the July, September, and November 2022 issues. We’re grateful for the Poetry Foundation grant funding that supports these positions.
Ruben Quesada is the editor of Latinx Poetics: Essays on the Art of Poetry, out this year from University of Nebraska Press, and hosts the Mercy Street Readings. He visited Chapman University via Zoom last fall to speak with MFA students in the required Aspects of a Writer course. His energy and breadth of knowledge and experience made him a top choice for our new position. His latest poetry book is Revelations from Sibling Rivalry Press.
Lynne Thompson is the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and has visited Chapman University several times, so she has a good sense of what we’re trying to accomplish with Tab Journal and how she can make a difference. A lawyer by training, Thompson sits on the boards of the Los Angeles Review of Books and Cave Canem and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at Scripps College. Her latest book is Fretwork (2019), winner of the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize.
In our grant proposal, we wrote:
Tab Journal requests a grant from the Poetry Foundation specifically to continue our diversity and inclusion initiatives. A diverse pool of submissions flourishes based upon several factors: the journal’s self-representation, credibility of staff, integrity of equitable policies and practices, analysis of and response to demographic information, broadly written calls, expansive networks (visibility in BIPOC spaces), and incentives.
We consciously chose not to use the guest editor model, which too easily shifts responsibility for inclusion away from the organization’s underlying structures, policies, and practices. Instead, our contributing editors are part of the conversation about how Tab Journal reaches potential readers and contributors, how staff read and respond to submissions, and which poems end up in the published issues. We’ve defined the contributing editors as collaborators rather than advisors, and we’ve had some frank conversations about the challenges we face and the possibilities we envision.
One of the first changes we made was to add optional demographic questions to the submission form.
Submissions opened in February, with our greatest one-month influx of submissions. At least two staff read each submission anonymously, and those submissions that make it to the next round are read by the Contributing Editors, Editor, and Creative Director, who will collaboratively make decisions about what goes in which issue. The decisions we make together will be evident in the published issues later this year, but we’re also excited about how the conversations are shaping the way we do things and suggesting future goals.
In the last couple of weeks, submissions have slowed down a bit, so now is a great time to send something our way! Keep in mind that, because we give a lot of attention to design and production, we work several months ahead of each issue’s publication date. Once we fill the November issue, we’ll close submissions–and that could happen in May. So, get yourself over to Submittable this month.
Read the Submission Guidelines before submitting your work to Tab Journal. We consider all things poetry, including poems, scholarly and creative essays about poetry, poetry pedagogy pieces, and interviews with poets. Because Tab Journal is continually evolving through design thinking, we’re doing a few things differently this year, not only on the surface but in our policies and practices.
We welcome submissions from writers with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, voices, and aesthetics and encourage BIPOC, LGBTQ, and Disabled poets to send us work. As part of that, we’ve updated our submission form to include optional self-identifying to help us work toward an increasingly inclusive submissions pool. Of course, our staff readers don’t see identifying information when they evaluate submissions.
This year, we are especially encouraging of submissions of visual poetry. You can see examples we’ve published by Keith S. Wilson and Monica Ong in Volume 9 (2021). Plus, there are more in the January 2022 print issue and also a conversation with several visual poets coming in the March online issue.
Tab Journal uses Submittable. We do not charge a submission fee. If you’re unable to use Submittable, please use the Contact form to ask for the best way to submit your work. If you can’t use Submittable or receive email, you can write to us using the postal address in the footer of most of our webpages; if you do that, make sure you that don’t put your name on the poems themselves and that you include a return envelope.
We are now reading for the July, September, and November issues. As part of our ongoing efforts in diversity and inclusion and with the help of a grant from the Poetry Foundation, new Contributing Editors Ruben Quesada and Lynne Thompson will help Editor Anna Leahy make final decisions on the content of these three issues.
For as long as we can afford it, every contributor to Tab Journal receives at no cost a copy of all future print issues, which are published each January. We are also working toward offering small honoraria to contributors.
We remain grateful that so many wonderful poets have trusted Tab Journal with their work these past nine years. We’re excited to see the work that poets send our way this year!
Earlier this year, Tab Journal added several new staff, including Lydia Pejovic. We’re happy to announce that Lydia is our new Communications Coordinator.
Lydia coordinates social media, Tab Musings, and other interaction and content. We’re in the process of developing a new overarching communications plan for 2022. As part of this effort, Tab Journal has been cultivating its Twitter feed. Follow us @TabJournal.
Lydia is a Dual MA/MFA student at Chapman University. She’s using an independent study to work on in-depth research and communications planning for Tab Journal. She earned her BA in English from the University of San Diego. Her work has been published in Calliope Art & Literary Magazine, Pomona Valley Review, and Voices Magazine and is forthcoming in others. Like all Tab staff, she’s a terrific book reviewer too. You can find out more at https://www.lydiapejovic.com.
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.