Interview with Poet, Scott Laudati


A couple of years ago, I was writing for The Punk Archive and was given this exceptional poetry book to review.  That very book was Scott Laudati’s first poetry collection entitled Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair – that is when I first discovered who Scott is. I was so grateful as his poetry is truly something to behold. I’ve had the good fortune of interviewing Scott a couple of times, he really does have a lot of insight with regards to very human issues.  I’m so excited to announce that Scott Laudati’s new poetry book Camp Winapooka is now available on Amazon. For more information on Scott give him a follow at @scottlaudati & @bonemachineinc.

Scott would like to give a huge thank you to: Carlos Gonzalez-Fernandez, Karina Bush, Thom Young, Christina Hart, and Kyle Kouri for all of their support! 

RMMW: What are you working on now?

SL: I’m planning the perfect bank robbery. I know where and when it’s going to be, I just haven’t decided who my two accomplices will be yet. It’ll be way easier than writing another novel, though. And it’ll pay way better. My mom’s getting old and she’s always wanted a house with a nice big porch. I feel guilty I haven’t been able to buy it for her yet.

RMMW: Do you feel paying for editing services is a necessity for an author? 

SL: It depends on what kind of writer you want to be, but for me the answer is yes. Of course, I’ve always been fortunate enough to have a publisher pay for it, or a professional on the team who’s done it for cheap. I just feel like not having an extra set of eyes is like recording an album without tuning your guitar. This body of work will represent you forever if you don’t quit.
 
RMMW: Would you recommend authors pay for editing services?

SL: Yes, but they need to be careful. My first book of poetry sold pretty well somehow, and this was before social media. My publisher gave me all the money in a lump sum and I immediately handed it all over to an editor for my novel (Play The Devil). The person I chose had already been my editor when I was writing for a really big New York blog, so I thought she was perfect for it. But all she did was take my money, change like two things in the book, and never talk to me again.

It was a horrible experience. It was the first (but not the last) time I’d really been fucked over in the art world. I was so disgusted and confused and totally out of money, so I just had my publisher at the time put out the half-edited book. I was never happy with it and I always knew it was like 60% of what it was supposed to be. Luckily, some people have integrity and care about art. My old publisher, Kuboa, agreed to hand the rights back over to me. It’s currently being edited by a real pro named Maura Power, and as soon as I think it’s perfect, Bone Machine will publish it.

RMMW: Why was it important for you to re-edit your book Play The Devil?

SL: While the last editor was not editing but taking forever to get the manuscript back, I’d rewritten and added about 100 pages. I tied up a lot of loose ends, etc. But when the manuscript came back so much time had passed, I felt like I was wasting my publishers time, so I never added the new stuff. And it’s eaten at me ever since.

RMMW: What support system do you feel writers need to have in place?

SL: I'm the wrong person to ask about this kind of thing. I've always hated scenes. Boxing is the only sport I watch because it's one man, constantly against the ropes, either getting his ass kicked or beating the odds. And that's how I've always looked at writing. When I first started, I’d show my friends, but none of them ever cared so I got used to doing it alone. I know something is good when publications publish it. I use their approval/disproval to decide what’s worth putting out into the world.
 
RMMW: Tell us a bit about your new poetry book, is there an underlying theme?
         
SL: No, not really. My first book (Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair) was published when I was in college so the themes were girls, drugs, and starting my move to NYC. My second book (Bone House) is a lot about bosses, jobs, NYC, etc, trying to find my place in this “thing”. My new book - Camp Winapooka - I think, is all of those things combined, and my general belief that it’s over now, that we’re all either dead and on the other side, or we’re in some final march into the last years of humanity.

It’s not nihilistic though. Right around the time of #OccupyWallStreet I could feel the world shifting, and the 99% were either going to take the reins and steer the world back on course, or it was going off like an old elephant who knew its time was up. A spiritual war happened that those who were tuned in could feel playing out in real time. And we lost. And I’m ok with that now. I feel like I’ve eaten the peyote and rubbed the womb of the sun.

RMMW: What's your favourite book written by you?

SL: They each represent a time in my life. The most recent one is always my favorite because it's who I am now. And whenever I finish a new one, I look back at the old ones, and I'm horrified by how bad the writing is.

RMMW: What's the craziest subject you've ever written about?

SL: I wrote an article about the Reptilian Agenda once, way before it became mainstream, that got pretty weird. Basically, I was trying to prove that Mario and Luigui (of Super Mario Bros.) were a metaphor trying to warn us about being enslaved by shape-shifting lizards.  I was on message boards reading first-hand accounts by people who said they'd been raped by invisible lizards and they were describing the Reptilian penis and other really gross things.


RMMW: What odd jobs have you taken to support yourself as a writer?

SL: I drove five supermodels and a trunk full of mustard around the tri-state for a few months. We were hired by a French mustard company to go to grocery stores and sell mustard. I'd drive and help set-up and the models would flirt with dads grocery shopping. We'd work for about 20 minutes, then go to an Applebee's and get smashed, and bill the mustard company for like 10 hours of work.

RMMW: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 

SL: When I was really young the state fairs had freak shows in the back, maybe they still do. Behind the hog auctions and pie bake-offs there was a tent with the world’s fattest man, two headed-deer, bearded women, stuff like that. I remember being shocked that no one else in my family wanted to look at this stuff but me. That really sparked my interest in weird subcultures, cryptozoology, etc. I spend all of my time reading, so when I come across something insane that I’ve never heard about, that’s usually a good sign it needs more exposure, and it keeps researching and writing about it from getting boring.

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