Issue Five: Untranslatable & A Letter from the Editor


Dearest readers,

When our editorial triumvirate first set out preparing our theme for this issue, we tossed around a number of different words that might encapsulate the mood we were trying to go for. We wanted something melancholic, bittersweet, and intangible. We almost settled on the Russian word “Toska,” but realized that Vladimir Nabokov had already described it better than we ever could.

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness.”

There were other strong contenders: the Portuguese “Saudade,” the German “Weltschmertz,” and the Spanish “Duende.” We eventually alighted on the more mutable “untranslatable,” which gave us the opportunity to branch out from mere sadness. After all, Spring is just beginning to bring itself out of its’ self-imposed exile.

We have thirteen marvelous contributors in this issue, each tackling the struggle of words on the tongue that are too scared to slip off. (Of course, our March 13th publication date was exceedingly well planned.) Caleb Lovelace creates a deconstruction of the body that dwells in “a constant state of un/control.” Zoe Guttenplan writes that, “translation is never an a=a equation, but more of an a=α=א etc. etc.”

There is something wondrous in the intransigent. We hope that you enjoy this issue and thank you for your continued support in helping to make this issue possible

-The Editors

Call for Submissions - Issue Five: Untranslatable

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Dearest readers,

Have you ever had a moment where you've found yourself trying to voice something so essential but found yourself stumbling? The collapse of words and feelings between one person to another. It is winter again, but sometimes it feels as if it is always winter. 

Welcome to 2018 and to the theme of our fifth issue: Untranslatable. 

What is untranslatable? 

Words that linger on your tongue that are too scared to slip off / Art that claws itself up from the earth to claim existence / The things that have made you call yourself more earthquake than person /Half-formed love songs / Something screeching and raw/Something blooming with infinite tenderness. 

Submissions of art, poetry, and prose are open until February 20th. Check out our submissions page for more guidelines on what we are looking for. We can't wait to read your work!

We are also excited to announce that from this year forward, Bombus is now a quarterly journal and we will be publishing issues in March, June, September, and December!

Wishing you warmth and light in the New Year,

-The Editors

Pushcart Prize Nominations


Bombus Press is very pleased to announce our nominations for the annual Pushcart Prize Anthology. 

Our nominees from 2017 include:

illusionary darkness by Hodges Adams (Issue IV)
a portfolio of blues by S. A. Khanum (Issue IV)
Birth City by Kanika Lawton (Issue II)
HYLAS, on Desire by Yves Olade (Issue III)
Hollowing by Shay Vera-Cruz (Issue III)
Baby Brother by M. Wright (Issue II)

We wish the best of luck to all of them and we hope to see their work in print!

-The Editors

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