Is this Scary?

A collection of Poems by Jacob Scheier

Synopsis: Is This Scary? digs deep into internal landscapes of suffering, including depression and anxiety, chronic physical ailment, and rare neurological malady. With its many eccentric songs and odes to medications and medical procedures, this book is full of both levity and unapologetic lament. Pushing back against societal stigma, Is This Scary? unflinchingly addresses experiences of psychiatric institutionalization and suicidality, without either romanticizing or pathologizing them. Scheier rejects much of the mainstream cultural views of mental illness, subverting the biochemical model by emphasizing the radical subjectivity of mental suffering. While the poems render the difficulty of communicating pain to others, they defiantly celebrate its expression and evocation through visceral lyricism. Scheier also challenges our culture’s desire to be inspired by stories of “triumphing” over illness and disability. Nothing is overcome here, the journey from illness to wellness is one of narrative and aesthetic disruption. The perpetually incomplete search for self and home is ultimately at the heart of this book: along with being a person with disabilities, the poet-speaker identifies as a Diaspora-Jew, engaging exile as a chronic state of being that isn’t intended to be resolved, but rather explored, expressed, and honored.

I received this arc from ECW in exchange for an honest review! So thank you to them for the copy of the book!

I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of poetry or poems. But when I read that this books poems and stories were revolving around anxiety, depression and mental health I was curious and intrigued and decided to give it a go.

In some of the poems, you could feel the heartbreak and sadness, you could feel the mental struggles, the anxiety and depression. You could feel the deep sense of dread and longing for change, the helplessness. You could truly feel the grief and illness. Some of the poems were quite intense and thought provoking.

However.. some of the other ones, actually quite a few of the other ones, I couldn’t for the life of me make out any meaning in. I was expecting some ‘overcoming depression’ type of poems and came out with a bunch of anti suicide notes, rants and something about antifreeze lactating from his paternal breasts. —yes the book actually said that, I didn’t make it up.

Without being in the authors mind, a lot of the poems felt too scrambled and a few of them seemed so random that my brain just couldn’t even comprehend what points or thoughts the author was trying to make. Maybe those ones just didn’t resonate with my brain, maybe those ones would speak to other people in different ways. But I couldn’t even understand how the words went together at times.

If you’re really into poetry, you might get/understand this much better than I did.

I rate this book




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