J.A. Tyler: The Last Book I Loved, Scary, No Scary

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Picture 27The last great book I read was the very recent Scary, No Scary by Zachary Schomburg, released from Black Ocean Press in August. I was a big fan of the previous collection from Schomburg, The Man Suit, and was hoping that Scary, No Scary would be equivalent. It is not. Scary, No Scary is far better, much sharper and more drawn from images, shaking through the reader in its short and livid sentences.

Divided into sections, the overall text is still somehow connected by word associations: trees, hummingbirds, bones, empty houses, hauntings. And this is what made it so great for me, because it didn’t read like a collection but instead like fractures of an epic poem, fragments of a (prose) poem novel(la). I dove through once as soon as the mail came because the cover is vibrant and torturously teasing, but then the close of the text, ending with a new version of The Pond, one of my favorite releases from Greying Ghost, it begs you back through, asks you to wander again, electrified by its words.

Zachary Schomburg understands how to tilt a board filled with language up and towards his mouth. He rolls you down like that, to the teeth, staring at a black throat threatening everything. Scary, No Scary made me love poetry again, made me understand how it can fit together, how a collection can be a book, and how a book can stir and pour over me, ruffling all my feathers into new flight.


J. A. Tyler’s fiction has appeared in Diagram, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Fairy Tale Review, and Denver Quarterly. His novel The Zoo, a Going was recently published by Dzanc Books. He lives in Colorado. More from this author →