New York City is a mishmash of different walks of life. It’s notorious for youngsters looking for new job opportunities, the homeless — who know the city better than most — tourists and even teenage rebels simply looking for a place to stay. Author and poet Scott Laudati explores every crevice of the city that never sleeps in his poem book, “Bone House.”
Laudati shares personal experiences with his readers through intricate storytelling and digs deep into the details of his adventures.
The poems are written in free verse and are generally long enough to tell a story, or even give the readers a life lesson. Throughout his poetry, Laudati illustrates what life is truly like in New York City through his eyes and ponders the complications of serious relationships, failures in life and expectations of a modern American society.
In “buying cocaine for **** *******,” Laudati describes a budding relationship with an unnamed celebrity woman and falling back into drugs because she requests it from him, and he gives in despite trying to quit. He describes citizens’ dependence on drugs in the city and illuminates the weak and gloomy lives they live as a result of their addictions and greed.
“Coast to coast” is a prime example of a work that describes the deep feelings of American youth in response to society that surrounds them. It begins with “my real education began after college,” implying that Laudati was able to learn more from experiencing the real world than from being a student. He claims that parents and teachers follow guidelines put in place by society that are “designed to keep us fat and middle class.”
Another poem that stands out is “the basement days,” where Laudati describes the fear of missing out — a relatable subject among teens in a city where something is happening in every corner. In his writing, he discusses the worry of being left out of parties, and instead shuts himself in his friend’s basement. Laudati draws feelings of uncertainty from not going out, and asks the question, “What will we become?” Toward the end of the poem, Laudati finally escapes the basement, but ends up drinking at bars.
Along with his city stories, Laudati also offers his readers pieces of advice from his experiences. In “the fight of the century,” he tells the audience, “You’ve got to own all your time or someone else will.” This poem is about using all remaining energy and strength before giving up. Laudati ends with, “once you step out you can’t always get back into the ring.”
All in all, Laudati’s “Bone House” is an intensely written collection of life stories that speaks out about American societal problems and the daily struggles of the common man. He sheds light on serious issues like suicide, drug use and loneliness, and puts his own voice into each poem.
His tone is distinct and very much his own, which can be seen throughout the entire book. It was a fast read and never failed to be intriguing. Despite the dreary mood of his book, he included details of humor and sarcasm throughout, creating a balance between a light and dark frame of mind.
The thoughts, feelings and experiences Laudati writes are relatable to young adults trying to fit in with the rest of America. After living in New York City, he’s able to share his view on the harsh reality of life today. “Bone House” is the perfect selection for readers looking for brutally honest and hard-hitting poetry that speaks to the mind.
Contact Kailey Cheng at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.