Poetry Review: ‘Hawaiian Shirt in the Electric Chair’ gets republished

Scott Laudati, pictured, is a New York City poet and fiction writer who authored "Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair," a modern poetry book. (Courtesy of Inquire Media)Scott Laudati, pictured, is a New York City poet and fiction writer who authored "Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair," a modern poetry book. (Courtesy of Inquire Media)

Breanna Hill, Features Editor

I haven’t had vast experience with poetry. The only time I’ve really delved into it was back in high school when my English teachers would make me dissect a piece of poetry till it was stripped bare.

Let’s face it. We’ve all had at least one of those types of English teachers in our educational careers before. 

Beyond the painful dissection of scholarly pieces in high school, I haven’t read much poetry. Reading the raw, and relevant masterpieces enveloped within “Hawaiian Shirt In The Electric Chair” has completely changed my view and expanded how I look at this form of writing. 

“Hawaiian Shirt In The Electric Chair” was written by Scott Laudati, who was born in Staten Island, raised in New Jersey. The Brooklyn resident has written numerous books including “Bone House,” “Camp Winapooka,” “Play The Devil” and others.

“This book was published in a much rawer and basically unread version a few years ago,” said Laudati.

After the first publication of this book, Laudati went on to create more written works to be published. Cephalo Press then approached Laudati about a publication and he decided republishing this book again was something he wanted to do. 

“When Cephalo Press approached me to publish something I figured why not give my first book another shot,” said Laudati. “I’ve had a few books published since, but this one was always my favorite since I wrote it so young I thought it captured something very honest and naive I lost as I got older.”

A music video for one of the poems within the book was also produced to introduce the public to Laudati’s work. The music video centers around the first poem in the book “Can we live like this?” and can be watched on Youtube. I thought this approach was different and unique. I never thought to use a music video as a promotional tool for a poetry publication. 

“Hawaiian Shirt In The Electric Chair” includes forty poems and a little get-to-know-me about Scott. I found myself captivated by the words he used so elegantly. Each of the works within the book represented so much raw emotion and it’s so easy to see the characters within the poems as imperfect which can connect with how real life is. 

His word choice is something readers don’t get to experience with just any poetry book, or any genre of book. The imagery used to tell a story in these works is something else I enjoyed thoroughly when reading through it. I found myself lost in each poem, immediately moving onto the next piece so I could devour it as well. 

I never felt the haunting doubt of whether or not I understood what the author was talking about. The poems are complex yet not difficult to interpret or understand, which is so refreshing with this writing genre. There was no pressure for me, no need for me to reread to understand; I only reread out of amazement. 

I will recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It’s for poetry fanatics but it’s also for everyone else too. There are so many aspects, characters, and profound thoughts laced within this book that everyone can find something that’ll make them happy they read it.

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