Many people know Charles Bukowski has always been my inspiration & a model in both style & theme during much of my writing career. He was often called Hank & was thus the inspiration for what I named this site when I created it in 2011: Hank Rules, or Hankrules2011.
The first country to publish me outside of the US was Finland & that nation became my biggest supporter over the longest period of time. My second book, Industrial Madness, was published in Helsinki in 1991. This collage shows a short intro to/of me in Rendezvous’ssa, one of the many mags that grew to like me there. The editor alludes to & eventually did publish a second printing of the 1991 book. I recently translated this into English, seen here in the side-by-side collage.
I didn’t know the publishing world at first but eventually found a fairly comfy home in the “Small Press” world while still being published in mainstream literary journals. However, I generally disliked many of them, so I stuck with small press mags for a good part of my career. This issue of Pandora’s Box contains a typical note I’d often receive where the editor generously compliments my writing, tells me he’s published me in this issue, plans to in the next 2 issues & asks me to send more poems. I would end up getting solicited by many magazines & publishers & was often featured, something I never took for granted. At least 9 of my books were solicited by the publishers.
This little postcard/ArtCard was one of several created so very long ago that I had actually forgotten about them over the years, which is sad & not meant as an insult to the artists, designers, publishers, etc., I worked with in the US, Europe & most especially Finland. Finland? This basically says all you need to know about the ’90s Finland zine culture, both in terms of digging crazy written shit like mine but especially their distinctive & crazy infamous art pieces one would find all over. Jouni Waarakangas was the illustrator & instigator behind this project; he was very kind & generous to me over the years in publishing me routinely in his Sivullinen magazine, in publishing my second poetry collection & in introducing me to more & more Finnish audiences so that I grew to be so freaking popular there that some magazines actually placed my photo side by side with Bukowski on the covers with our work respectively next to each other between the covers. Both highly complimentary & surreal, though I’d been published with him in a number of magazines by then. Just never effectively risen to his stature, nor would I ever so I guess I inadvertently pulled one over on them, eh? The Fins were a great group & I’ll always be grateful for their generosity. Oh, & is this card creepy or what? Hah!
By former count, Cells was my 15th book of poetry & my biggest at close to 210 pages. (Most poetry books average somewhere between 48-72 pages.) Over the past few years, however, I’ve discovered that I’m credited as the author of some 18+ poetry books & possibly even way more than 22! Adding just 2 of the books I was paid to co-author & 2 more that I edited would bring the total to 26+. Further, adding 10+ anthologies & 4+ textbooks that I know of (even as I’ve discovered more anthologies and collaborations recently, as well as an unknown number of textbooks) brings a new total to 40+. There’s probably more…
My first poetry collection, Street Poems, was published in early 1991 by mulberry press (though some libraries/catalogs date it to 1990). The cover shows a photo of (a young) me about a year after moving to Tempe, AZ. Little did I know that “street” poems would turn out to be an apt description of far too much of my life.
I wound up asking myself this question probably more than any other during my life. Not the typical existential question one might expect…
The Wisconsin Review was not the first literary journal (Mainstream University Literary Publication), but it WAS one of my first such journals to have a larger press run & was a bit more well known than some others that had published me (all of whom I was grateful for & to). While it wasn’t going to be the most “prestigious” journal in which my work appeared, it was a nice way to break into the next level. In retrospect, it didn’t hurt my ego that the poems published here were pretty damn good & in fact, so much so that two other journals got into scuffles with the Wisconsin Review editors over one or both of these poems & one of those journals’ reputation was close to the very highest levels to which one could aspire — largely a household name for anyone in literature. At the time, however, it was immensely awkward for me & I wanted to hide under a rock.
After 3 decades as a professional writer, Scott C. Holstad now automatically displays “Scott C. Holstad, Author” with a thumbnail image of his face while conducting various searches with Google Search. Then when one chooses any of several possible results for “Scott C Holstad Author” (including “Scott Holstad,” “Scott Holstad Poet,” “Scott Holstad Writer,” “Scott C Holstad Scholar” and other related search strings — which can change periodically with no warning as specific search strings alter results), Google Search results display a profile Google provides on top of and to the side of the results with, as of late March 2022, my name, “title” assigned to me (“Author.” It was previously “Writer.”), a thumbnail headshot above the results and to the side an “About” section featuring a bio taken from various sources (in this case from my Authors Guild profile) as well as ever-changing info such as birth & marriage info and icons for various social media “Profiles” all of which link to those profiles, such as Google Scholar, Twitter, LinkedIn, et cetera. All of which may appear in different form and content, or not at all, depending on both search string used and most common current searches being used because less frequent searches will reduce this information, scale it back, or it will simply disappear from other results. Conversely, these can grow seemingly endlessly with more info on you and both more frequent searches for you and obviously the higher a profile one has. Thus a search for Lawrence Ferlinghetti displays info about his spouse, children, education, some photos of some of his books, pictures and names of others people searched for, et cetera.
And this type of result is always changing based on these and more variables. My display formerly including a section listing some of my formal education, often derived from sources like Wikidata. This information and these sources don’t disappear. Google’s algorithms are designed to change with the tiniest search patterns. Thus as one can see from the Google Search Results screenshot beside this text, photos of Scott C. Holstad from any resulting source that may have any are now displayed beside the result, so in this case my photo appears alongside results that include my Poets & Writers directory profile, a literary publication’s website, my Goodreads Author profile and oddly, an ancient picture from the apartment of an old friend’s blog. But what if one wanted search results that displayed pics of some Holstad books, like Ferlinghetti’s does (or a row of author photos, etc.)? Well, it depends on the search inquiry.
As the caption beneath this screenshot states, a search for “Scott Holstadbooks” results in a row featuring icons of some of my books with the option of scrolling on to see more. Above every such result are little icons with a new topic that will allow someone to dig deeper for more specific information with each result yielding forever changing different options. In this case, I could choose icons displaying titles of some of my books to see results focused on each while seeing new icons encouraging one to go further. Depending on one’s perspective, this could be viewed as good or bad…
By the way, if anyone is interested, yes, the default search results differ so that if one were to type in the exact same search string as Google — “Scott C Holstad Author,” Bing’s display is very different (not to say the order of the results). In this case, a row of books appears at the top — none of which are Scott C. Holstad’s — followed by a search result providing a brief bio, but from a dubious source which then begs the question of accuracy, followed by results from Goodreads (two) and the Authors Guild while beneath them is a row of pics labeled “Images of Scott C Holstad Author.” To the right of the results is a small bio and photo similar to Google’s but from a different source, in this case my Amazon Author page.
(The irony of things is that Bing has rarely shown more than 3 or 4 actual photos of me while displaying reams of pics of anyone BUT me, virtually none of whom are connected to me or have anything to do with me, rending these image results largely useless — which people who don’t know me won’t realize) — while Google’s own image results once were a bit iffy like this but over time have become pretty impressive so that now the top row typically displays accurate images ofScott C. Holstad and/or some of his books while additional rows continue to display more of those while adding pics from some posts or articles he’s published, reviews of some of his books, scenes from places he went to university, favorite watches or works of art or computers drawn from sources like Pinterest, etc., and thus these results are radically better and more accurate than Bing’s.
That said, Bing’s actual Search results often yield not only some of the same results, but others one doesn’t find with Google and other search engines and the value of those is often they’re never seen or shown elsewhere and as a result, I’ve been able to find that I apparently either I published books or works I don’t remember or never even knew about or something like various Special Collections libraries carry works of mine in their holdings that contain more than what may be found in other searches, but also alerted of works created by others while attributed to me, which I guess is fine, but then even worse, works in elite Special Collections libraries attributed to me or a former publishing company long ago by “authors” I both know and don’t know or never heard of, using my old company’s address, and in some cases, naming their publications with titles I would never permit or use myself as they are more than “X” rated, but simply intentionally very offensive. Not only has that ticked me off as well as mystifying me, but I can’t believe I never even knew of the existence of such until the past couple of years while libraries were somehow acquiring copies many years ago! WTF?
So Bing does a service and disservice and one other example shows how it does a current disservice. Typically most search engines offer a list of “related” searches at the bottom of their webpages, which one might think is good. These are usually based on the number and frequency of related searches of that particular topic, in this case “Scott C Holstad Author.” Some might include variations such as “Scott Holstad,” “Scott C Holstad Poet,” “Scott C Holstad Writer” etc. In Bing’s case though, in addition to those, others include “Scott C Holstad free downloads,” which is quite worrisome and frustrating because there ARE NO legal downloads, free or not, authorized by anyone to have, obtain or gain access to, and thus these are either “pirates” or entities likely guilty of copyright infringement, intellectual property theft or more. If that sounds unbelievable, there are a couple of screenshots already on this webpage in the pics above with illicit listings for some of my stuff and I have tons of screenshots of all types of piracy, theft, misuse, illegal use or sales of many of my books and even research papers and essays for sale, etc., which boggles my mind, but isn’t entirely new. What’s new is seeing a link to such sites openly available via major search engines.
One of many Pirate sites (as I call them and as the Authors Guild views the majority of them). Illegally selling PDF versions of a rare book of mine for $100 each. For an $8 retail book. Of which I get nothing. Using the original Napster model, eh?
Okay. Too many words. I’m going to try to get back to the pics. And yes, some of these hold stories and there’s much more to be known, but that’s not my purpose in posting them at the present time. Just hoping some people might find some of this interesting…
Want to see some crazy prices for some of my books, mostly used? And even those that are listed as New still border on crazy. Recall that what I’m about to post are listings for some of my books dating generally from 1995 – 2004. The average has tended to be 1999. (I’m not going to come close to posting all of the listings I’ve collected over the years!) I will likely post a few ads, listings and prices from between 2011 – 2022, so these will be between 7 – 32 years old, as in older than when these were originally published and going against the original retail price, which I believe for all but one (CELLS), was $10 and below, often between $6-$8. I used to get bent out of shape that everyone except me seemed to be profited from MY work, but I lost that battle long ago so now just watch with resignation. Writing poetry doesn’t pay rent. Re-selling it just might. Clearly I went into the wrong line of work. Hahahaha!
I have and do write many things on many different topics on many platforms and forums. Over the past several years, I’ve written, posted and published hundreds of pieces on LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, blogs and elsewhere, virtually none involving creative writing. Much of it has been along the lines of policy analysis, geopolitical analysis, national security, China and the Indo-Pacific region, quantum physics, nuclear proliferation, privacy issues, issues regarding the pandemic and future contingencies and much more. Here is a small slide show of some of the topics I did generally between 2017 – 2019. Added here just for the heck of it…
Well, we’ve been all over the place lately. How about concentrating a little bit more on various magazines and publications my work appeared in and maybe a few more autographed books before veering off once more to look at different oddities such as catalogs, letters, archives and more. Sound good? Hope you’re finding this fun or interesting or tolerable or curious or something of value, yes?
Readers have commented that they think this poem, “The Writer” (published in 2005) is very Bukowski-like in some ways and I suppose I have to agree, though that hadn’t been my intent. What I found ironic about those comments was early in my career, not only were specific stories and poems of mine compared to Bukowski, but entire poetry collections. And not just in the U.S. Such comparisons were made in a number of European publications, Canadian, Australian, etc., much of it sometime between 1990 and 1996. Then, those who know my work will recall that I somehow took a “vacation” (not a pleasant one) sometime after that and my writing reflected that in most of my books thereafter, as well as most of my poems. But at least it didn’t take an entire decade to get me out of that death zone, right? It was nice to get back to a healthier, funny old school Holstad theme and poem. And yes, this was just the latest in many poems like it, most all of which featured total crazies proposing “X” to me or promising me “Y” or suggesting “Z” to me — theoretically for free, as perceived favors. And chances were I blew some opportunities as I walked out on most. But most of the time either my bullshit meter was screaming hard cause they were FOS and I knew it or my crazy meter was going off since some of them believed their own bullshit. And like much of my stuff back then, these were all true, happened, and yeah, I walked most every time. Regrets? Almost never. Some early similar poems involved this coked up young guy in Phoenix who became a fanboy, was into industrial music like me, claimed he knew Al and Paul of Ministry, he had sent Al a copy of my first book which Al, naturally of course liked, and that they wanted to meet me in L.A. (not Chicago?) to discuss possibilities of adapting some of those and other poems into lyrics for an upcoming album. Which sounded like one of the biggest piles of shit I’d ever heard. I knew people who DID know Al and while Al collaborated with people, they tended to be certain people with certain bands and as far as I knew, not via a manner such as this. The only thing that made me pause was that – believe it or not — some of my poems and other works had actually been adapted into musical and mixed media projects, so for instance a major alt fashion show in Phoenix was done with the models prancing down the runway to BPM imbued with Holstad-written AND narrated poems and spoken word. I’d also been asked to do this experiment in Atlanta’s biggest and hottest club where I’d originally been invited to open for this very popular British band in the States for a six week tour, but some genius got the brilliant idea that the band and I should meet ONE time — the day of the show — and work out some experimental Bill Burroughs-inspired mixture of me reading my work via cut up method WHILE the actual FAMOUS band tried to integrate their music in a marriage of hell with me. Fucking nightmare, swore off those types of experiments after that. But moving on, … TBC…
Going back to pics and moving on for the moment…
Veering away from some of the publications and related for a minute. Why? Because my life did not consist solely of writing. I did too many things and was interested in too many things to keep adding more and more here to vast excess, but I thought I’d add a few other things because they would also fit in with this webpage’s title and focus — the history of this site (and me as well).
During my lifetime, I started at least five small businesses, one of which was quite different from the others. I’ve always loved music and developed a taste for quality audio equipment & fine vinyl, as well as a major interest in hard-to-find, rare, valuable, imports, demos, infamous “mistake” albums that were quickly withdrawn, etc. Audiophile. They’re not speakers, they’re “monitors.” It’s not a stylus, it’s a “cartridge” (containing a stylus). For that matter, MM or MC cartridge? Because it truly does matter. Of course, one’s wallet can decide such questions long before you wish to come to an informed decision. Because at the top of the audiophile pile of high-fidelity lifestyles is a requirement that it’s more than investment, it’s a way of life. That can and will cost some millions and they won’t freaking blink an eyelash. So people ask, “I don’t have that kind of stash, but I want to get in on it — is it remotely possible?” The answer is, generally, yes — and for not too much of a dent in the wallet. But at the same time, be prepared to have to learn a few things and pay a little more to start at the bottom end of searching for true sound quality. Once started, it can become an addiction. That can bankrupt you, so be forewarned. Hah!
When I started this little gig, I only intended for it to be a fun hobby to keep me occupied and feeling somewhat positive about life, because I’d been undergoing a ton of health problems that had forced me to radically alter my entire life. This WAS fun and it started to pick up and do pretty well, but it also started become really time and labor-intensive and as we knew we would shortly be moving to another region of the country at some point, it seemed like an ideal time (if not a little sad as well) for me to close up shop after two years. I miss it, but we must move on at times, eh?
Some sample/example items that I carried or sold…
Folding@Home Certificate for TeamScott “folding” 11,000 workunits (of proteins)
The times, they are a changing. The physical transformations that FIVE (5) DECADES of writing have forced upon Scott C. Holstad. 1988 – 2021.