Dr. Anna Leahy (English) and TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics were awarded a $5,000 Poetry Foundation: Emergency Grant to continue the journal’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Grant funds will be used to support a part-time staff position dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and add paid BIPOC contributing editor positions and contributor honoraria. These efforts acknowledge the ongoing need to foster authentic BIPOC belonging in literary culture and compensate the labor of BIPOC writers.
Launched in 2013, TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics is an international journal of poetry, with an emphasis on design and the reading experience. Every January an innovative print issue is published in addition to online issues in March, May, July, September, and November. To remove economic barriers to literary culture, Tab Journal is distributed at no cost to readers.
The Poetry Journal began its partnership in 2015 with the California Coastal Commission and devotes the May issue every year to winners and runners-up in their K-12 poetry contest; these issues include numerous Asian Americans and Pacific Islander and Latinx writers. In 2017, the print issue was comprised entirely of work by writers who identify as women, and based on contributor notes, only two Tab Journal issues published more men than women. In 2019, the publication took a ten-month hiatus to update the archives for increased accessibility and develop a new website using an accessibility-ready theme, a new style guide of accessibility standards, and updated design and production practices for accessibility.
This year TAB increased the diversity of its staff, adding BIPOC and disabled individuals. The journal now includes parenthetical pronouns in all contributor notes. Tab Journal recognizes that inclusion relies on more than good intentions and is committed to ongoing action, accountability, and policies that foster equity. The history of Tab Journal demonstrates the need to continually reevaluate all aspects of a literary project. The next steps for TAB, as supported by this Poetry Foundation grant, are to increase racial inclusion of submitters, contributors, and staff by 2023 when Tab Journal celebrates its tenth anniversary.