Issue Four: Chiaroscuro & A Letter from the Editors

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Dearest readers,

When we're planning an issue, it's not always clear when we will be publishing it. There is usually a vague date in mind, but other times we glance at our calendar and realize that the perfect time is staring us right in the face. Thus, with no small amount of pleasure, we are pleased to bring you our fourth issue of Bombus when the veil is clearest. 

Halloween did seem to be a rather fitting day to coincide with the release of Chiaroscuro.

There is something tender and wondrous that sits at the heart of this issue; this interweaving between the fantastical and the profane. This is an issue of firsts as well; our first chance at getting to publish both creative non-fiction and cross-genre work. We feel so humbled that we have been able to publish so much exciting work over the past year and we are so humbled by all of our contributors and supporters.

A few things to be on the lookout for in the future:

  • We will be announcing our nominees for the Pushcart Prize in the next following weeks!
  • There are a couple of changes that will be happening to the internal structure of Bombus, as part of our long-term goal of shaping the magazine so it can be the best that it can be. As of now, we will be closed for submissions until 2018, at which time we will hopefully be able to draw back the curtain on the new Bombus.

For now, there is only light. (And maybe a ghost or two.)

Happy Halloween!

The Editors

Call for Submissions - Issue Four: Chiaroscuro

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Dearest readers,

Somehow every time we sit down to write one of our announcement posts, the world seems to slip into a more precarious state, as if to say: “let me change into something more comfortable.” Of course, only the opposite could be true and we learn to keep moving forward and to temper the noxiousness with a little bit of light.

As such, we would like to introduce the theme for our fourth issue: Chiaroscuro

'Chiaroscuro' is an Italian word for a painting technique that describes the interplay between light and shadow. It is particularly noted in the works of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, da Vinci, and a whole host of other painters.

We also see chiaroscuro as this: 

The velvet edge of afternoon that unfurls on itself like orange peel. Walking along the beach at night, illuminated by flash light on your phone - the waves dragging you in ever deeper. 3 AM insomnia and watching the moonlight flicker through the shades. Having tea with the man in the moon in cups fashioned from comet spines and star gas. 

It is a mix between the fantastical and the profane; send us your mothball-covered saints and wintery bus stops lurking in the lines of your poetry. We want your short fiction that is transient and translucent and the ghosts hiding at the edges of your artwork.

Submissions are open until September 20th. As always we support and seek the work of diverse creators, and please feel free to send an questions to We can’t wait to see your work!

Marilyn Schotland

Issue Three: Portrait/[self]-Portrait + A Letter from the Editor

Dearest readers,

July is upon us and with it, a new issue of our literary and arts magazine!

We welcome you ever humbly to our third issue, Portrait/[self]-Portrait.

For our third issue, the staff at Bombus Press decided to take a step back and examine the role of the individual and the collective. How does one construct one’s identity? How do labels interact and form and shape everything in our world? How does writing and art allow us to capture, transcend and coalesce identities?

The literary magazine then becomes a space in which new ideas can be compiled and interact with each other. As such, you cannot divorce the work from the historical context in which it was created. While injustice is not a new concept, certain current political conditions bring these concepts of identity to the forefront. There are a set of square brackets surrounding the 'self' of this issue. The bracketing around the 'self' in the title of this issue reflects the seams, unturned corners, and edges addressed within the magazine. 

This issue is filled with a swarm of voices; it is an investigation, a reflection, and a rallying call for the summer months. There is a tenderness in these works that begins at the base of the spine and crawls up and makes itself known. They are stunning, brash, uplifting, and utterly necessary.

(For the moments when you crack open the world and music slips in.) Like our last issue, we have included a playlist crafted by our own fiction editor that you can listen to here.

We are also coming up on the first anniversary of the founding of the journal! The idea for Bombus Press first came to me during a stiflingly hot train ride, after a trip to Claude Monet's garden at Giverny. The bees that I saw clustering around the poppies and darting across the lily ponds followed me back home and there planted the idea that was to become this journal. What you see is an ever-evolving project that we hope will continue to grow with each issue. 

And if you are wondering if we shall ever return to the bridge of wonderment that is one of the foundations of this magazine, worry not! As I sat outside under the mid-afternoon sun typing, a very large bumblebee flew in front of my screen. I have understood that as a sign of approval.

One thousand thank yous to our contributors and readers, without whom this issue could not be possible. 

Marilyn Schotland

Call for Submissions - Issue Three: Portrait/[self]-Portrait

In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
— William Shakespeare

Dearest readers,

It’s been a little while since we have been on here, but we are back again this time with a few announcements. Somewhere along the way, the lilacs and azaleas began to bloom and I saw my first cluster of bumblebees puttering along the grass. Everything is in bloom and as the poet e. e. cummings once put it, “it’s spring and the goat-footed balloon man whistles far and wee.” With the arrival of the bees and warmer temperatures, we’re extraordinarily excited to announce that we are opening up our submissions for our themed, third issue!

This is Portrait/[self]-Portrait. The concepts of portrait and the self-portrait are not too terribly uncommon in the art world and are foundational to any type of art making. Indeed, the constant reevaluation of identity is essential to this process and profoundly necessary in these times. This is about creating new ways of seeing in a platform that is accessible. How do we respond to the conditions of everyday life? 

What are we looking for? Send us your sketchbook and journal pages, poems that discuss your perspective and ways that your identities coalesce. Send us works that discuss moments of both comfort and discomfort. We would like to underscore especially that we are seeking works from diverse creators, as too often the canons of art and literature are centered on the work of the proverbial straight, white man. This is a rallying call or a murmuration from a small corner of the literary world: to disrupt, insert, and create a new paradigm in the history of this magazine. We are hoping to have this be our largest issue to date!

Some more updates on what we are expanding and including in this round:

  • Creative non-fiction! Please check out our submissions page for more information on what we're looking for.
  • For this issue, we would like you to send us a picture of yourself along with your submission.

Submissions to are open until June 2nd, and as always, feel free to send us any questions you might have. We are looking forward to seeing all of your work!

Marilyn Schotland


Issue Two: NOISE + A Letter from the Poetry Editor

Dearest readers,

How do you write about noise? Or rather, how do you write about anything in general?

For our second issue, we wanted to explore the idea of noise in all its variations. Each of our editors focuses on one specific discipline, but noise is the ever present constant we can identify. How did we define noise this time around? 

The universe humming itself to life in little pockets of chirps and whistles; reading on public transportation and almost missing your stop; the buzz spreading through your bones that you can’t quite name; turning your clavicle into a musical instrument. 

These were all very personal things to me that I can pinpoint to specific moments where I have felt confused or anxious. They are coping mechanisms of sorts, soft reminders to let me know thatFor myself, I never know whether to write about the material or the temporary; perhaps that is the way noise is slated to be. Why do we talk about bones and skin and thoughts? Commonalities in writing and art, differences between space and nothingness, and subjectivity and objectivity. 

What is a migraine, then?

This issue came together as we winded our days into a new year. I have missed the sun for far too long. This issue is a little bit different; you cannot mention noise without, inevitably, arriving at music. As a literary journal, this is not our primary focus, but we wanted to address it in some way. We have a brilliant curated playlist, put together by Mary Guan, which you can listen to on Spotify.

There is so much to look at and read in this issue that brilliantly captures and expands upon our original concept. We have an astounding collection of poetry and pieces that explore the self, identity and their relations to noise.

Of course, it would be a disservice to not mention the onslaught of harrowing events that, while are not exactly new, have picked up frequency and resonance in the past few weeks. Working on this issue meant that we could choose to focus on aesthetics, but this could inherently be a fatal flaw of our magazine. We could have, “a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs,“ as Donna Tartt once put it, but to not comment upon this would be a disservice. Thus, an addendum to our original version of noise:

The way that Orion always seems to light up the vacant yawn of the evening; the crows at dusk, winging along and bringing you home; snow on an evening that petrifies the night sky; the hidden corner across the branches of trees.

Bombus Press supports and will continue to publish the work of diverse creators. We are now in the works of putting together the ideas for a special print issue that will hope in some way to confront this in our way. More will be coming soon.

(And remember, the gentle humming of bees is there too.)

As always, we are grateful for all our wonderful contributors and everyone who has helped to support our magazine. 

Marilyn Schotland