The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, August 20, 2007

Watch out for da BOMB

By Tamara Lee

A good 12 years ago, I had a favourite magazine—BOMB—that thrilled me so much I actually managed to collect over 30 of the oversized quarterlies before finally gifting them to a local café. Holding onto them seemed selfish when they’d given me so much pleasure, and eventually they started taking up too much valuable space in my small apartment.

A little background may be necessary for those who aren’t hip to this New York-based mag. From the site: ‘BOMB began as a late night conversation among a group of friends—writers, directors, and artists—when someone said, "Wouldn't it be great if we started a magazine where we could speak about our work the way we speak about it amongst ourselves?"’

I spent hours poring over the odd-shaped mag chock-full of artist interviews, photography and fiction: belle hooks sitting down with Wayne Wang; Willem Dafoe interviewing Frances McDormand; new fiction by Lynn Tillman, Francine Prose and Kathy Acker. These are just the best of what I remember off the top of my head. There were so many photo spreads by some of the best new and established artists whose names I don’t recall, I’ve found myself sort of regretting my decision to give the mags away.

Came a time when I couldn’t justify spending the near-$15 bucks while I was underemployed and putting myself through school. The mag wasn’t available online, and then when I did finally look for it in my local bookstore, it was nowhere to be found. I assumed the mag had folded, as it was a not-for-profit venture.

Around that same time it was difficult to find the Village Voice, too. It just became too expensive for Vancouver bookstores to carry even the best New York magazines and newspapers. Even the Sunday NYTimes, which didn’t tend to arrive until the following Thursday or Friday anyway, became scarce.

Then this Internet thing…

I am pleased to report that BOMB, after what seems to have been a brief hiatus, is not only still going strong, it's celebrating its 26th anniversary this summer. Plus, it will soon be available online, including… Oh, the joy… Including the back issues.

It seems that only the interviews, and perhaps select fiction or art features, will be available for free online when the new site is launched. But don’t let that stop you from seeking out the magazine. It was always worth the money spent.

In the meantime, has archived some of the interview tapes, for example a great oldie-but-goodie with Willem Dafoe interviewing Michael Ondaatje.

Looks like I’ve another new favourite way to procrastinate.

(Image credit: the cover of BOMB's 100th issue)


Blogger Anne C. said...

I'm a little sad for you that you gave away all of your favourite magazines! I still have all of my Sassys, the teen precursor to the now defunct Jane.

p.s. I didn't know that about the N.Y./Vancouver delivery times.

Mon Aug 20, 07:29:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Denis Taillefer said...

BOMB looks like an interesting magazine. I've bookmarked's archives and look forward to the interviews. And you've reminded me to subscribe to a couple magazines to try them out, and to help support them just a tad. (Quill & Quire and Zoetrope All story) Cheers, Tamara!

Mon Aug 20, 08:32:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

BOMB just squeezed itself into my list of mags and journals to dream about. Thanks, Tamara.

Mon Aug 20, 05:28:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Yes, Anne, I do regret it a little; but I have such pack-rat tendencies, I need to keep this sort of thing in check.

Glad you fellas are now keen on it too. Subscribing gets so expensive, doesn't it? I have a hard time deciding who gets the subscription each year (and who I plan on subbing to, so I don't double up).

Mon Aug 20, 07:19:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Ooh, I'd love to find that article about bell hooks. The archived interviews look good, too. Thanks, Tamara.

Mon Aug 20, 07:53:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

actually, i may have written that poorly... it was wayne wang being interviewed by bell hooks. the interview will likely be in the archives, either on tape at the salon or when the back issues go up.

Tue Aug 21, 01:16:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew said...

I was a magazine junkie for a couple of decades. Piles and piles all over the apartment. Over the last few moves I have successfully denuded myself. And now I sit in Chapters or Indigo sipping my Starbucks for a couple of hours every month reading them and putting them back on the racks. There's nothing better than a good mag! I can't remember if I've ever checked out an issue of Bomb- I'll be on the lookout now.

Sat Aug 25, 09:14:00 am GMT-4  

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