As a refusal to romanticize young adult human nature, Scott Laudati is shedding skin and baring bones in his new collection of candid poems, “Bone House.”
Laudati is a New York City based poet, author of the poetry collection “Hawaiian Shirts in The Electric Chair” and the novel “Play the Devil.” “Bone House” is his latest published collection.
Laudati’s love for writing as a method for understanding the world around him is evident in his close attention to detail in his poems. When asked how he first got into the craft, Laudati talked about his strict upbringing as a kid. Oftentimes his parents would constrain him to his room. “I wasn’t allowed to do anything at those times but read, so I consumed several books a week for more than a decade,” he said. He discovered Judy Bloom and became inspired by her work to try writing some pieces of his own. While Laudati has written and published both prose and poetry, he comes to find his poetry “as the highest level of literature.”
“Bone House” is a raw and unflinchingly honest confessional collection about several coming of age topics, among them love, heartbreak, mental health, and the continual strife for understanding adult life. The inspiration for this project came from Laudati’s own life and relationships, specifically from one diary excerpt written by a past girlfriend. “I read a few pages and it was so full of wonder and excitement about the world and what it would bring,” Laudati said of her words. He mentioned the passion and honesty in her words and how it was one of the few moments in his life where he was actually driven to tears. “I never forgot the idea of reading the story of her youth as reading her ‘bones.’ I wanted my new book to have the same effect, complete honesty, my ‘bones,’ so I called it ‘Bone House.’”
True to his “bones,” most of the poems within this collection are set in Laudati’s personal perspective of New York City. The portrait Laudati paints within his lines captures the high energy the city is known for, and he expertly layers the collection’s underlying attempt to understand the young adult’s place in this fast-moving world.
Laudati looks towards the youth for his audience, taking particular inspiration from the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “They’re so much stronger and braver than my generation and especially my parent’s generation,” he said. “They’re smart and motivated, and if they are the future of America, this country might be able to save itself. I’d much rather have my audience be those kinds of people.”
Many of these poems evoke vivid scenes, often narrative in theme and centered around both Laudati’s voice and other strong voices of the people whose stories intersect his. “Skinned Knees,” a personal favorite of his, features the story of a friend who was forced to be on her own at eighteen with little aid. “Her story is like so many of the stories people in rural America share,” Laudati said. “Broken towns. Broken families. Everything stacked against you.” In tribute to other voices represented in this collection, Laudati concluded, “You meet these people along the way, with an iron backbone. It’s their stories that are the ones that deserve to be told around the campfire.”
Scott Laudati’s poems in “Bone House” constantly take surprising turns, as the path through life is rarely straightforward. Experience a rollercoaster of feelings as you travel alongside the poet through the journey of growing up and finding oneself.
“Bone House” is available for purchase through Amazon.
Image courtesy of Mr. Laudati’s Twitter page.