It was one of Berkeley’s chilly and deserted evenings. We were sitting under the circus roof lights of Cafe Strada, at one of those round tables with a piece of world map imprinted on its top, reading Baudelaire and sharing our thoughts about the meaning of his poems in Russian, English, and French simultaneously. We broke out laughing at the unwanted attention that our trilingual conversation had stirred, and then it hit us – Berkeley – so many languages, so many cultures, so much life and no literary publication to embody and unite all of it!

Berkeley is host to all kinds of musicians, artists, poets, clowns, jugglers, bucket drummers, dancers, fat squirrels, realists, pessimists, romantics, cynical raccoons – one cannot but feel as Alice in Wonderland, wandering through subconscious labyrinths of this magical life. When we take a closer look at one another we see more similarites than differences, and it’s by sharing those similarities while respecing and truly understanding and accepting the differences that we can create a more coherent world. Well, to quote John Lennon: “They may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only oneā€¦” Berkeley is place for all vagabonds.

Anastasia Namsaraeva and Tatyana Shmygol — Vagabond, Spring 2005

The spirit of UC Berkeley’s Comparative Literature department is multidisciplinary, which is exactly the essence of Vagabond Multilingual Magazine. Whether a student is exploring the translation of a queer Cambodian novel into English, expressing their cultural Chicano heritage through poetry, or or engaging with film criticism to explore the representations of ethnic identity, these interdisciplinary but committed forms of creative work are what Vagabond strives to highlight. Vagabond seeks to publish multilingual creative, academic, and critical projects ranging from translation, prose, poetry, art criticism, and anything in between.

Vagabond started as a multilingual project by eccentric UC Berkeley undergrads in 2002 and saw ebbs and flows throughout the years, with its last issue on record in 2014. In 2022, the editorial board members of UC Berkeley’s Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal sought to bring back the vibrance of Vagabond to the literary community once again. We are excited for you to join us on our journey in reimagining a diverse, high quality, creative publication, two decades after its conception.

We are dedicated to fostering diversity and unity by giving a platform for creatives to share their voices and to embrace cultural and linguistic legacies. Visit our Vagabond digital archives to take a look at the origins of the publication.