‘Bone House’, the Light in a Broken Alley7 May 2018
This collection contains references to drug use, alcohol, mental illness, self-harm and suicide.
When the world has constantly been exposed to the likes of Instagram poets, it can be incredibly difficult to find poignant writing that delivers something else, a level of almost distress, tinged with the encouragement to live out your life as best you can. Scott Laudati’s second poetry collection Bone House, comprises of a collection of realisations about love, faith, politics and life itself in the twenty-first century that are uncomfortable to read.
“sometimes I think we are flowers…
waiting to be ripped apart in the endless storm” (66).
Before you read through the collection, you’re met with a very arthouse cover, grungy and experimental. The cover reflects the writing to the most part, but doesn’t even begin to express the emotion within. I felt hazardous in continuing reading a few sections, the writing becoming overwhelming as it tangled itself in my anxiety.
But Laudati writes smoothly. Utilising a lowercase system with minimal grammar, he engages with the core of the words, the sentences that make up each of the poems within the collection. I was surprised, noting that the poems were longer in length than many popular poems these days. I felt that the dragging out of the poems across many pages enabled their influence to be prolonged. Ravenous for more understanding and depth, you keep at the collection.
“all the poems in the world won’t buy you
a convertible” i said. “I don’t know
how many times
i have to learn that lesson
before i stop trying.” (59-60)
The collection explores life as a poet, as a writer, an artist. Acknowledging the challenges in creative endeavours, Laudati urges his readers to experience life itself. To be more than just what their life’s script, but to challenge it and “make sure/your accomplishments/are yours. the failures as well/ those will always/be more important” (48). This left me personally with a level of existentialism that I’m still shaking off as I write this review. For a reader to really identify with Laudati, they should be able to adapt to the experiences of others, and consider demographics beyond their own as Laudati does.
Beyond the hardships, there’s a level of softness, beckoning at readers to realise that life does not always operate with the light on. Accepting your failures and experiencing the world, is the best way to live. To suffer, to know and breathe. Small pockets of peace are present throughout the collection and remind the readers amongst a variety of self-help tools, to ground themselves.
“if your mom still loves you
after all your shit,
let her hug you.” (101)
Laudati encourages his readers to think about their unaltered identities. In pulling one’s self apart and putting it back together, a person may develop a stronger understanding of who they are. Through a series of harsh and melancholic lines, Laudati has composed a collection that at first I wasn’t sure I would find familiarity in. But as it continues, the reader can find the poems getting stronger and more visceral. Scott Laudati is current and unafraid to speak his truths in a painful and progressing world.
This book was provided to Farrago by Scott Laudati.