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Calls for Content

Penumbra's Summer 2024 Online Edition Call Now Open

Until July 4th, 2024!

Penumbra Journal of Literature and Art at California State University, Stanislaus 

Invites Writers and Artists to submit to the following:

Poetry, Short Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Hybrid, and Art


Water, Water, Every Where

Steve Mentz says that “Two geophysical ratios haunt scholars in the blue or oceanic humanities. The first is seventy percent, which describes the amount of our planet’s surface covered by water and also the approximate percentage of water inside each human body. This fluid’s preponderance on our planet and in our bodies speaks to the deep connection between water and life.” The second ratio: “Only three percent of our planet’s water is the fresh water needed to support agriculture and other human necessities.”[1] In light of these observations, Penumbra seeks poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, hybrid, and art on the theme of “water.”

Water—unfathomable in its abundance and precious in its scarcity—is a significant issue in the Great Central Valley of California, with its deltas, canals, sloughs, wetlands, river systems, lakes, fertile farmland, and thirsty almond orchards. But water and its myriad related concepts and Protean forms (ice, snow, liquid, and vapor) invite a veritable sea of reflection on humanity, the Anthropocene, and the state of the world, regardless of region or time period. We are therefore anxious to gather a body of art and literature, locally sourced and from around the world, that focuses on water-related themes.

Topics may include, but are certainly not limited to…

  • The beach (as a gathering place, iconic American site, reflective locus, or a liminal space)

  • Sea, lake, or stream life

  • The sights and sensations of the ocean, the shore, the littoral

  • “Water, water, every where / Nor any drop to drink”

  • Water and its significance in different forms: ice, flake, fluid, vapor

  • Water and cognition (dream states, the subconscious mind, watery thinking)

  • Water as it manifests in the human body (tears, sweat, amniotic fluid, semen, saliva, etc.)

  • Water as origin, life, death, eternity

  • Water and gender

  • Water or watery beings in mythology; water as archetype, metaphor, or symbol

  • Watery politics

Reflect deeply upon any of these topics or other related ones which may emerge for you, and then create and submit your poem, story, or image to Penumbra for consideration. Each contributor may submit up to three poems, short stories, pieces of creative non-fiction, art or photography, or hybrid pieces in any combination (e.g. three poems, one poem and two short stories, one short story, one hybrid piece, one watercolor painting, etc.). The top submissions will be featured not only in the online summer issue but will be included in our hard-copy spring edition of Penumbra in 2025. The deadline for submissions for the online summer edition is July 4th at midnight. We look forward to hearing from you!


[1] Steve Mentz, “Shakespeare and the Blue Humanities,” SEL 59, no. 2 (2019): 383.

*See our pages below for more information on submission guidelines!*

*To learn more about submission guidelines click the button below.*

Interested in Reviews?

Penumbra Online would love to hear your opinion on the latest in pop culture. We would love to hear your opinion on films, shows, poetry, and music. To learn more about reviews, including how to submit, click the link below and visit our reviews page!

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