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Scary, No Scary

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  578 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
SCARY, NO SCARY, the follow-up to Zachary Schomburg's acclaimed first collection of poems THE MAN SUIT, is a book of skeleton gloves and skeleton keys--at once dark and playful. With loneliness and levity Schomburg takes the reader on a tour through a liminal world of dream-logic, informed by its own myth and folklore. Here there are new kinds of trees and new ways of nami ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published August 15th 2009 by Black Ocean
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
352nd out of 1,611 books — 1,774 voters
They Won't Shut Up by Cindy J.  SmithVoices In My Head by Cindy J.  SmithMeeting With Christ and Other Poems by Deepak ChaswalFrom Where I Stand by Robert   ZimmermannA World of Verse by Christopher  Shields
Best Collection of Poems by Living Authors
423rd out of 443 books — 469 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,253)
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Nov 14, 2013 Melissa rated it it was ok
Here's my impression of a Zachary Schomburg poem:

You and I ate cheeseburgers with ketchup
in a wolf-run diner in the middle of the woods
Only there were no wolves
There was no diner
There was no ketchup

These poems are not supposed to be read all at once because you learn nothing, feel nothing, except that you may be wasting your time. Though I am happy to come across them individually, and fell in love with The Fire Cycle in this way (which is what led me to read the book). Otherwise, I can't rememb
Jul 07, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, small-press
This is one of the best fucking books i have ever read. Like top five favorite books of all time good. Holy fuck.

He manages to create these worlds that are just hit this perfect space in my mind and put me in this incredible state. Not only this, but while I can appreciate many authors and poets, I feel like Zachary Schomburg's work is one of the few who I really identify with on a level of internal familiarity that rarely happens to me. The Man Suit was a great book, and so was From the Fjords,
Playful yet not without depth. Brilliant in places.
Jul 27, 2011 Vogisland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It would be fun to see a huge diagram of all the transformations in this book. It would be fun to see a copy of the book with small diagrams/illustrations in multicolored pen on each page of its contents. I was glad there was an index for this reason. I felt generally positive until I got to "The Pond", which I loved. I want to reread the book soon by topic, starting from the index.
Aug 21, 2009 Sasha rated it really liked it
listen. at first i wasn't certain. then i was. now i am. although i'm not certain how much i like all of the poems, as a book of poetry, i think it's fucking awesome.
Jan 20, 2016 Jenelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poems
ZS builds a dense world, like how you re-work a theme again and again in dreams. full of darkness & mythos the way children & animals are.
May 03, 2013 M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, poetry, 2013
Second Reading: 5/3/13
So this isn't as "cute" as The Man Suit, which finds me enjoying it significantly more. The creation of the uncanny is more fine-tuned here, and there's more of a tone that carries the narrative, less 'random' asides that devolve into irony. Definitely good.

Somehow, despite the fact that there is ostensibly nothing in my town except for a university, an art show was staged by a group of Chicago artists who worked cohesively towards a show dedicated to the poetry of Schomber
Erinn Batykefer
Mar 09, 2014 Erinn Batykefer rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, adult
I enjoyed most of Scary, No Scary, and appreciated the straightforward language and sentences. The surreal images of re-animated corpses, deaths, births, and re-births, and the forests, houses, and bodies of water in this book are outlined in a sketchy, understated way but add up to some haunting and moving meditations on the subjectivity of experience and of morality. My favorite poems were Scary, No Scary; I Know A Dead Wolf We CAn Climb Inside and Beat; I Found a Beating Heart Half-Buried in ...more
Stephanie Wytovich
Apr 10, 2015 Stephanie Wytovich rated it it was amazing
Schomburg’s SCARY, NO SCARY is a brilliant collection of fantastical and surrealist poetry that creates as much as it destroys. His pieces are bizarre recollections, illusionist daydreams, and fierce realizations where his characters live, die, are reborn, and are murdered. Pieces like “I Found a Beating Heart Half-Buried in the Woods,” “Dead Hummingbird Problem,” and “The Darkness and the Light” were personal favorites of mine as they touched on the gray area between life and death, between dre ...more
Jan 16, 2012 J.A. rated it it was amazing
Maybe my third or fourth time through this book now, and I can't recommend it highly enough. When I mark a five-star rating on Goodreads, this is the kind of book I'm thinking of.
Michael Seidlinger
Jan 17, 2012 Michael Seidlinger rated it really liked it
Strangeness is a 79-page poetry collection by visionary poet Zachary Schomburg.

One hell of a ride. Worth a dozen reads over the course of a lifetime.
Feb 03, 2016 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: winter
The poems often seem to convey reflections on self and choice, meandering along between this and that, until BAM - the final line gives you neither this nor that. Sometimes it's a laugh, sometimes it's a scrunched forehead, or uncomfortable fear from existing? I'm not really sure, which keeps it interesting. It's easy for me to zone out while reading, so I appreciate the way his last lines often pack an odd sort of punch that shocks you back into paying closer attention. Strange, clever, perplex ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Roshan rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Scary, No Scary is the first Schomburg book I've read. It consists primarily of surrealist prose poems, and is at once accessible and obtuse. The sentences are written in spare, simple language; there is no ostentation or dense flourishes or convoluted syntax here. The imagery is weird and dreamlike and often intentionally contradictory. Schomburg creates scenes that are excessively dark, haunting and lonely, these scenes become destabilized visually, spatially,and logically with each passing se ...more
Mark Desrosiers
Oct 02, 2011 Mark Desrosiers rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Schomburg takes it to the next level here -- his debut, The Man Suit, was weird but often half-baked, never sucked me under tides of strangeness or beauty or cognitive tower-building as per my usual requirements of great poets. Here, however, he digs in and gives us a real nightmare, voices echoing past your shoulder, dead hummingbirds falling into your palm, babies, legless bears, that damn recurring pond. His use of repetition evokes Robert Creely's best moments, but of course with a stark pun ...more
Jan 15, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, male-writer
I really like how this book uses the same subjects, and images throughout the book, and it feels like they are talking about the same specific hummingbirds or jaguars that keep appearing. It reminds me of when an artist will use the same image in different settings and combinations. The whole book works together.

It has a similar, surreal and whimsical style to The Man Suit, but there is less variety in Scary, No Scary. The book is still good, but it is hard to compete with The Man Suit, which i
May 24, 2014 Kelsey rated it really liked it
Recommended to me by a friend... I liked a majority of the poems and they made me think but some were just a little too out of the ballpark for me, and that's okay. It was refreshing.
Apr 26, 2011 Tessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: pomes
Discovering Zachary Schomburg via some friends of mine was one of the loveliest things that has happened to me lately. Reading his poetry makes me feel giddy but scared. They have a terrible hilarity but also pathos. Much like the Raptors Mascot falling.

The poems are like a private manic monologue. They really belong together, but can be enjoyed separately. They're not afraid to be brief, but you're not left hanging because there's another poem on the next page, and it sort of continues things w
Sep 08, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it
Surreal poetry filled with some of my favorite things: lava, jaguars, fire, hummingbirds, meteors, and Satan. Together they form an odd personal mythology that's a bit like discovering artifacts from an extinct tribe of proto-humans. Or, for that matter, future humans who traveled back into Earth's distant past in order to escape a global apocalypse (a dying sun? a collision of a galaxies?) only to perish from flash floods or snake bites. Loved this: "Some people think it is Satan's job to make ...more
Donald Armfield
Nov 23, 2012 Donald Armfield rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Zachary Schomburg is a dark, Scary, No Scary man. His bizarre writings make you think. Then you want to read it out loud to someone and see what they think.

Surrealist imagination in ones mind if Zachary Schomburg. From hummingbirds, wolf spiders and jaguars with a post apocalyptic dreamscape. Here are my favorites:

-New Kind of Night
-Your Limbs Will be Torn Off in a Farm Accident
-Falling Life
-I Found a Beating Heart Half-Buried in the Woods
-I Give Birth to a Girl Who Is so Tiny I Lose Her Immedia
Oct 21, 2015 Mike rated it did not like it
after a promising start, what emerges on these pages is a forced and tedious exercise in russell edson worship.
May 03, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
I adore the poetry in this collection. I just get this feeling of sense hiding below the nonsense, this completely logical thread that could be grasped if only I could lunge fast enough. Always, though, it remains elusive. The poems twist and turn, making logical leaps that schizophrenics would scratch their heads at. However, somehow, the poems craft startling and surprising images. They evoke unexpected and novel feeling emotions. Certainly, these poems are wonderfully entertaining. But...ther ...more
Joshua Buhs
Jul 23, 2015 Joshua Buhs rated it it was amazing
I don't really have the vocabulary to talk about poetry, and usually don't read it, but this was wonderful and engaging and weird. It reminded me of reading Philip Lamantia, at least a little, in the surrealism of the images--and that, like Lamantia, there seem to be secret strings running through these poems that make them coherent despite their seeming incoherence. There's a method to the madness, even if I can't describe that method. The book is endlessly quotable and worthy of being read aga ...more
Jun 18, 2015 Kristi rated it liked it
I normally don't read a collection of poetry, but this came highly recommended. Very chilling at times but also profound. I enjoyed this darker collection...which still managed to be tender as well.
Ben G
Feb 02, 2015 Ben G rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I appreciate that one blurb references James Tate, who was one of the first contemporary poets I loved. Unfortunately, Schomburg is akin to later James Tate. They share an intractable problem: when the poet deals in dream-logic, there's not much for the reader to unpack.

By the same token, I know plain-language surrealism is not easy to write. So I'm giving this the gentleman's 3-star review. It's good, but not for me.
charmingly unsettling
it is to have
hummingbirds drop
from the sky or
bloody bears await
the rescuer in you
who is already busy
with your hand inside
somebody else's chest
lost in the woods
waiting for tomorrow's
Clark Knowles
Feb 16, 2011 Clark Knowles rated it it was amazing
I write about this book a bit on my blog... here's a link. It's a really fantastic book. I think some folks might call it surreal, but it's totally real to me, all the way through. Very concrete, even as it flirts with the edges of reality. Plus, it has an index. What books of poetry have indexes? It's a totally justified index, by the way. It reads almost as a poem itself. Just go get it. Get the hardcover if you can.
Jon Cone
Apr 03, 2011 Jon Cone rated it it was amazing
Here, a few lines from a poem called 'The Abandoned Hotel'

"I climb the trees
through 1000 rooms.

I look for you
in each of them.

You're a long shiny line."


If the arresting image, a spare style, a dream-like landscape -- and sometimes the nightmarish -- are where your poetic interests lie, then this book, published by Black Ocean, would be something you'd want to buy and have at hand always.

~ J.

Nov 10, 2011 Casey rated it it was amazing
Five stars for being the first book of poetry I ever sought out, read in one sitting, and freakin' loved. Whoa. I'm not a poetry reader. Like, at all. Is this what my poetry-loving friends told me would happen one day? That I would suddenly wake up and go, "Hey, poetry's all right. I guess." Love it. Recommend it. It's super cool and clever and did I mention I never read poetry? Seriously.
Oct 27, 2009 Kevin rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The short, simple, detailed, surreal lines got my imagination going, and a good many of the poems are absolute gems (I've been trying to memorize the title poem so I can recite it at will). I'm not a poet's best audience - the ones I liked tended to read more like clever jokes/insights or flash-fiction. Many of the others seemed to lack the build up and payoff I was hoping for. Still worth it.
Eric T. Voigt Voigt
Jul 16, 2012 Eric T. Voigt Voigt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-twelve
Schomburg, you magnificent beast. Eerie glory. These poems giggle into me. Winner of the prestigious My Favorite Poem In This Collection Award goes to "The Darkness and the Light." I'd type it up here if the author hadn't already gone to that trouble, way back when he wrote it. It's not up to me to show you, lazy-asses! Seek it out!
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“Inside the woods is an abandoned hotel.
Trees grow in the lobby
and up through the rooms.
Limbs jut out through the windows.
It looks like outside

I climb the trees
through 1000 rooms.

I look for you
in each of them.

You’re a long shiny line.”
More quotes…