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Poetry at its finest “Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair”

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By Elena Pollack

Staff Writer

artsent.asp@gmail.com

April 28, 2015

Credit: scottlaudati.com The cover for Laudati’s collection of poems.
Credit: scottlaudati.com
The cover for Laudati’s collection of poems.

Scott Laudati, a budding author and poet, writes with wonder and passion. His collection of poems entitled “Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair,” is easy to read and connect with. Readers don’t need to be expert readers or poets to enjoy his work and there is no need to analyze every word choice or combination. These poems are simply for those who love the written word in all its artistic forms. The first poem in line, “Can We Live Like This,” is written in an open-ended style, leaving the meaning up to the interpretation of the reader. It could be about a lover who fell out of love, or it could be a case of unrequited love. It could just be that the narrator is lamenting on the loss of a good friend, with no romantic feelings involved.

   Another poem in the collection is “The Dog Days Are Over.” The narrator seems to be commending his dog for being calm and steadfast in the face of uncertainty and danger. He seems to take solace in the anchor that is man’s best friend. He thinks about how simple happiness can be. While some may require expensive gifts and travels abroad to bring them happiness, all this narrator needs is the dog. When it comes to poetry, many of us assume that all poetry is about love and loss or anger. Laudati shows us how to appreciate poetry from all emotions and thoughts, not necessarily the most passionate and debilitating emotions.

   Throughout the book, the poems are told in first person to better help the readers to connect with the emotions and situations conveyed. The characters seem deep and thoughtful, but their words are vague enough so as to leave their thoughts and emotions somewhat interpretable. The poems are creative and fluid, changing from one feeling at the beginning to entirely new feelings at the end. They are complex enough to entertain, but not inaccessible.

   It is a very good read, especially for those who enjoy reading but want something lighter than our textbooks. They are sad and beautiful, but sometimes filled with hope and promise. The book is engaging, thoughtful and inspiring, and funny. There are poems about dogs, UFOs, cocaine, friendship, love, bravery and time. Some are political and some are lighter.

   Laudati expresses the idea of death in one of the most fearless ways. He is not trying to be a world-renowned poet, rather he is simply expressing his voice and thoughts for others to read and critique. His writing is brutally honest and unapologetic, he says what he feels and thinks no matter how raw and gritty it may seem. The theme seems to be connected to remaining innocence, a will to preserve it, and a fear of losing it.

   “Putting the Art Back in Kmart” is about art itself and how destructive and beautiful it can be. Not all art can be held to the same standard as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

   We all find different forms of art pleasing. The compilation of poetry in “Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair” is wonderful, both for those who already love poetry and for those who want to test the waters.

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