BOMB 136, Summer 2016

The cover of BOMB 136

Featuring interviews with Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Wadada Leo Smith, Dmitry Krymov, Patricia Treib, Lee Clay Johnson, Jesse Ball, Catherine Lacey, Jason Simon, and Vince Staples.

There are cities more present in the warp and weft of literature than others; that's clear. The literary prestige of New York, Paris, or Mexico City is both undeniable and well-deserved: certain books, once read, transform forever the faces of those cities, superimposing a layer of fiction on their sidewalks and traffic signals.

Strong cologne with the scent of his underarms screaming behind it, a bright, beer-like tang. She tried to imagine the women who loved his smell. A wife. Daughters. Possibly girlfriends. These women were lurking in the private lives of even the ugliest men she saw.

Vince Staples

by Simone White

"Life has a soundtrack. And certain music is a soundtrack to a certain type of identity or feeling. 50 Cent, the Game, and those kinds of guys—they made us feel like our lives were worth nothing, basically."

My genitals aren’t worth listening to
Chinatown smells like brown cheese

wrapped in sweltering fish
Old men still spit on sidewalks

Two Books by C.D. Wright

by Ariana Reines

She was an absolute poet, the author of seventeen books, a Guggenheim and MacArthur fellow, a beloved teacher at Brown, a visitor of prisons and a traveler, a comrade of and collaborator with artists, a wife and mother, a mistress of a legend, a survivor of legend, a legend herself.

Wadada Leo Smith

by John Corbett

"I think that creative improvisation music models the democratic principle. Heads of state and legislative bodies could learn a lot from this practice."

Patricia Treib

by Joe Fyfe

"Every time you remember something, it’s not like you’re being teleported to the past—you’re actually physically experiencing it in the present."

A few years ago, I drafted two linked stories, one about Kurt Cobain and the other about Raymond Carver. Both grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Both had fathers who worked at a sawmill. Both were, in one way or another, working-class kids.

Dmitry Krymov

by John Freedman

"I asked my students for the image of the essence of tenderness. One girl brought in a small, silver plate with a bunch of grapes neatly laid out on it. When I noticed she had stripped the skin off the grapes, I got goose bumps."

Jesse Ball & Catherine Lacey

"I had a guy come up to me and say, 'I think you're a really good writer; I just think you're wrong about a lot of things. But I enjoy the books.'"

Lee Clay Johnson

by Jay Varner

"I think violence is inherited, it's taught, and some of the characters are born into bad blood. ...The characters are raped and so is the land."

In any narrative, facts are present or not. One might assume the more facts, the better the constructed history, since facts are meant to reflect what can't be computed by storytelling alone, which is said to be subjective and therefore inaccurate.

You wonder summer's terabyte,
here on the terra forming,
floating and atomizing,
giving over to shadow,
then a muffler rumbling,
distant engine, a little cozy,
acoustic shadowing,
or when the bells
die out slowly, like light

David Brody

by Elliott Green

David Brody has discovered a way to improvise abstraction with the help of math, producing exaggerated perspectives that make you feel the excitement of flying. The flight path might be up or down—depending on where you look—over familiar yet impossible imaginary places.

Ross Lipman’s Notfilm

by Liza Béar

Written, photographed, narrated, and edited by Lipman, Notfilm must be one of the most delightful, thoroughgoing, and ingenious pieces of archival filmmaking to hit the screen in recent years.

Rebecca Smith

by John Newman

When I walked through the doors of the Hionas Gallery to see Rebecca Smith's exhibition, there was one white wall piece that seemed to hover in front of a white wall. It was nothing if not quietly but palpably breathtaking.

On the second anniversary of the day Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York, Klaus Biesenbach, the director of MoMA PS1, posted an image of the Statue of Liberty overrun by a tidal wave from the disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow to his Instagram, writing: "2 years ago #Sandy hit making clear how vulnerable the city is."

Jason Simon

by Claire Pentecost

"Liberty's show manages to be about prison and not about prison at the same time: her audience writes about how the music lets them forget they're incarcerated for a moment, and she calls that effect 'time travel.'"

BOMB 136
Summer 2016
The cover of BOMB 136