Poetry— Scary, No Scary?


It is October and all, and you know what that means: apple-cinnamon candles, Halloweentown reruns on Disney Channel, and couples costumes at drunken parties. Add some new 2016 slasher films in the mix and we’ll call it a day. There is one thing even more scary to most, which is the dreaded monster that is poetry. Some would even say it’s scarier than Freddy Krueger himself. Yet, if we look close enough, we can find some gems that can make us scream for poetry. In a good way of course.

If you are a sucker for creepy, twisted images and things that can be a mindfuck, then look no further—Scary, No Scary by Zachary Schomburg is the poetry collection for you. One can assume poetry is full of dense content that requires our full attention to grasp, but for Schomburg he uses a language  one can easily grasp. His images rarely consist of adjectives, but rather state different images. He has faith in the reader to get the image he is trying to convey. Rather than say “the small hummingbird,”he flat out just says “the hummingbird” because, duh, hummingbirds are crazy-small.

Speaking of hummingbirds, there are hummingbirds present in some of his poems. In “Falling Life,” the lines “You will get married/to a humming bird/ and raise beautiful part-/hummingbirds” (11).  I know what you’re thinking: hummingbirds aren’t scary. But what’s creepier than thinking about a half-human, half-hummingbird child? Maybe a bear with no legs being sawed in half, or black holes. Spoiler Alert: These are all within the Scary, No Scary collection. His poem titles are  the most intriguing. Take “I Know A Dead Wolf We Can Climb Inside And Beat,”“Your Limbs Will Be Torn Off In A Farm Accident,” and “I Found A Beating Heart Half-Buried In The Woods,” for example. If those titles don’t excite you, then I don’t know what does.

What’s interesting is Schomburg uses his lines breaks to change an image entirely. “The Floor Age” shows a perfect example of this. It’s a measly two-lined poem, but so much is happening in two lines: “The chandelier crashes./There is no chandelier” (50). The first line contains the movement of the chandelier and the sounds of the glass breaking. When paired up with the second line, we get the exact opposite. We are forced to picture an area that doesn’t have this broken chandelier.

It’s similar to when someone says “Don’t think of a pink elephant,” and of course we think of that damn pink elephant. Who would have thought that poetry has the same ability? Similar to Freddy Krueger, these poems can get inside your head and can even haunt your dreams. Someone should get on a Freddy Vs Poetry movie instead of another Freddy Vs Jason sequel. Reading Schomburg’s Scary, No Scary you will see that he is a huge contender. Freddy, you better watch out.

Devin Koch is a Virginia Tech MFA poetry candidate. He loves enchiladas, hugs, Star Wars, and heated debates on who should be the next Bachelor. Visit him at devinhkoch.com


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