Augustana Observer

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Augustana Observer

    From comic books to Kerouac: The works of emerging writer Scott Laudati

    On the surface, Scott Laudati’s story seems to mirror the story of many other emerging artists.  He grew up in Staten Island, before moving to New Jersey when he was 11. He went to school for Journalism at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He went back to New York City, then Los Angeles, then back to New York. He’s in a punk rock band and loves the band Bright Eyes. He’s currently working in the hotel industry and hates it. He’s getting his Master’s in English and writing poetry when he can. So what is it that sets his work apart and makes it so unique. It may be because he doesn’t connect to that word “artist”.
    “I am artistic, but I don’t see myself as an ‘artist person’, really,” Laudati said. “In my writing classes, they’ll ask why we want to be writers, and some people will say, ‘Oh it’s this burning feeling I’ve always had’, and I do feel like I have feelings I need to express, but I never took it to that level.”
    Scott Laudati is a New York City-based poet who has released three books. “Hawaiian Shirts in Electric Chairs”, his first book of poetry, was released in 2014, “Play the Devil”, a novel, was published in 2016, and “Bone House”, his most recent book of poems, was released on Mar. 11. A contemporary poet, it’s difficult to place Laudati’s work in any single sort of genre, but one word does seem to fit: personal.
    “I basically just write about my life, and it can get pretty emotional,” Laudati said, describing his writing process.
    Seeing how Laudati got his start, it makes sense how he came to reach these deep levels of personal.  He first started writing as a child, getting inspiration from comic books and live wrestling.
    “I saw wrestling as like a live version of comic books and thought ‘Man, somebody gets to write these characters, that’s so awesome’,” Laudati explained about his unconventional influences. “I would get my action figures out of my parent’s attics and started thinking about what those characters would do . . . I probably would have never started writing if it weren’t for Mankind and Stone Cold and those guys.”
    Not the typical influences one might expect from a poet, but obviously effective.
    From there, Laudati discovered the beat generation of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and the other brilliant, young writers of City Lights.
    “When I found The Beats and all that stuff, it blew my head up,” said Laudati. “They taught me that writing from the heart is obviously the right way to do it . . . I’ve read “On The Road” probably 100 times and (Kerouac) cut himself open to write that one.”
    The influence The Beats had on Laudati is clearly seen. If “Kaddish and Other Poems” had been published in the 21st Century, it wouldn’t be surprising if something similar to “he was never one for conversation” made an appearance. Just like Ginsberg and other poets of those generations, Laudati has a rare talent for being able to talk about the difficulties, trials, and unfairness of life without sounding like he is complaining. He is able to make tribulations sound genuine, as opposed to annoying.
    However, even if he does take those influences, Laudati still has his own very unique styleone that lacks metaphors, which partially is influenced by punk music. Laudati described his own work as “punk rock poetry”.
    “Life is so fast and most of the things that happen to us are, you know, terrible,” Laudati said. “I figured there’s no reason to cover life up with pretty metaphors.”
    This is where the title of his book comes from. Laudati is laying out the bare bones of his life and building something out of it for readers to, hopefully, find shelter in.
    “My mom will read it and she’ll be like ‘Oh my, why are you so depressed? What’s wrong with you?'” Laudati said. “There’s nothing wrong, I just feel like there’s no reason to act like life is actually better than it is.”
    This lack of metaphors also makes many of the poems deeply personal and connects you to the “characters”, because they were very real people in Laudati’s life. When he talks about his friend Marcel (a pseudonym borrowed from the artist Marcel Duchamp) in the poem “coast to coast.”, it’s very easy to picture Marcel going off the deep end the first time he heard punk rock. You can picture the man being described in “an everyman” as he’s out there grilling with his Old Navy American Flag t-shirt. At least, that is how I pictured him. And that is where the brilliance of Laudati’s poems again comes into play. He talks about such personal stories in his life but does it in a way that makes the reader think, “I totally know what he’s talking about”.
    “It goes back to Kerouac and William S. Burroughs’ earlier stuff . . . it’s not metaphors,” said Laudati. “Life happens and life happens fast, so let’s try to get it all down before the moment passes and something else happens.”
    “Life happens and life happens fast” is something Laudati said often, and that seems to be a good way to describe his work. The entire book is composed of little personal moments of his life that he captured. Even the cover and back cover of the book are reminiscent of this. Laudati took his mom’s sewing scissors and cut out images from magazines and glued them down. The back has an even more personal story.
    “My mom got me a beginner’s bible when I was a kid,” Laudati said with a chuckle.  “It’s all cartoons, so I cut them out and pasted them on the back and she flipped out.”
    It’s small moments like that that makes “Bone House” and the rest of Laudati’s work so interesting. He can take small moments in life, moments that suck, and without adding any fluffy metaphors, he makes it into art. Just don’t call him an artist.
    “Bone House”, along with Scott Laudati’s other published works, are available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle. His band, American Inc., can be found on Youtube. More information and more of his work is available on his website,

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    • R

      RandyApr 9, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      A legend and the poet of NYC.

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    From comic books to Kerouac: The works of emerging writer Scott Laudati