A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Scott Reviewed

Excerpts from and/or complete reviews, blurbs, mentions, references to, interviews, description, etc., of Scott C. Holstad and his work



  • Holstad’s work easily reminds of Bukowski. The style is similar to the laconic and his writing, Buk-style, often tells of its own thoughts and everyday experiences…he is one of the strongest and most inspiring, honest, straightforward…and his work has a really beautiful lexicon in its simplicity.

Biographical Introduction of Scott C. Holstad to Readers of Finnish Magazine Rendezvou’ssa by Editor Miika Miiettunen.

  • Scott C. Holstad, Arizona’s “Street Poet” numbers Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac among his heroes, which ain’t no bad news here at The Shockbox.

C.F. Roberts, Editor Shockbox

  • This ‘zine (The Journal of Sister Moon) is described as a “literary journal.” I can hang with that. Most of the material has an overtly sexual bent, but there is plenty of room for political and other issues as well. You’ll recognize some of the names… but the real stand-out for me [was] Scott C. Holstad’s “True Love” (I know a woman like this too, Scott).

— D, Dusty Dog Reviews, 1991. Reprinted in The Journal of Sister Moon vol. 5, February 1992, p. 3.

  • A real treat here — ALPHA BEAT SOUP and COKEFISH married in a king-sized concoction. Best of both worlds too —  curios by those such as Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs et al as well as Bukowski, Vaultonburg, Lifshin, Holstad…and others… and it’s worth every last penny.

— Review of the merger of legendary Alpha Beat Soup with Cokefish to form a Beat-centric publishing powerhouse by C.F. Roberts, Editor Shockbox: The Literary Art Magazine With Teeth


  • …reminiscent of the Beat movement…has a Whitmanesque-Ferlinghetti street feel which is refreshing to see… He creates the stream-of-consciousness, unedited inner life of we human beings which moves his work from a narrow to universal scope.

The Hawai’i Review

  • I seem to always be getting these in the mail from authors highlighted by this press. Poetry spread like evil seeds across the country. Always interesting, great writing. [with SCH]

Review of the BHP Broadside series, 1991-92 by Richard Seffron, Shockbox: The Literary Magazine With Teeth, 1992

  • Street Poems is a small poetry book packed with mind rippling work. Scott C. Holstad pulls no punches and the reader is taken down that back street, out in the alley and beaten to death. We pass through “City Afternoon,” “7th Avenue,” and continue to “Wander,” “Oh, the Progress.” Scott is honest and says, “hypocrisy,/ apathy,/ misery,/ and I take a/ Deep/ breath before/ stepping out.”

Denise Martinson, Editor Poetic Page

  • big head press broadsides: the shit you’d be stupid to live without. c/o Scott Holstad

Extra Cheese, April 1992

  • Scott C. Holstad has two chapbooks out, Street Poems (mulberry press) and Industrial Madness (Sivullinen, in Helsinki, Finland). He lives in Phoenix and is the mind behind those cool Big Head Press fliers and broadsides you might have been seeing [around the country.]

C.F. Roberts, Editor Shockbox: The Literary Art Magazine With Teeth

  • Street Poems: A book of poetry by Scott C. Holstad. The basics yet very recommended.

Flipside, 1992

  • The Big Head Press Broadside Series — highly recommended and they’re everywhere! Write Scott C. Holstad, Phoenix AZ for more info.

Amy Bowling, Editor The Journal of Sister Moon

  • The book title (Street Poems) says it all with Holstad – you will walk away from this’un feeling the dirt and ground glass under your fingernails. Poetry that is visual and vivid, but gritty as hell – a faceful of the not-so-pretty side of life in the city. Well worth it!

C.F. Roberts, Editor Shockbox: The Literary Art Magazine With Teeth

  • Streets and street life are a major source of inspiration for Mr. Holstad. This chapbook treats themes of eviction, prostitution, and the lowest-common-denominator of human existence. Mr. Holstad is clearly an example of the Flaubertian dictum that all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at stars. [Scott C. Holstad, Street Poems, mulberry press, PO Box 782288, Wichita, KS 67278]

factsheet five vol. 45, 1992


  • Here is beatnik poetry ostensibly about beat existence in an unbeat world. This is an intelligent thoughtful man who enjoys Gerald Locklin and, obligatorily, Charles Bukowski, and who endures his own very personal dissipatory exercises in masochism.
    • “woke up with blood/ on the pillow, blood/ on the sheets, blood/ on my breath and/ blood in my mouth/ and the coughing/ started again and/ i turned to spit/ at the trashcan and/ missed and i admired/ the new wall decoration/ as i grabbed a/ cigarette to start/ the bloody day.” Sounds like the opening scene of APOCALYPSE NOW.
  • The collection is too brief for us to discover what pleasures might be had here, and to discover the scope of this man’s psychological peregrinations. A larger dose might be funner, albeit bleakly so.

— Review of Dancing With The Lights Out [Big Head Press] by D Castleman, Dusty Dog Reviews vol. 11, 1993, p. 14.

  • Many of the poems in this magazine probably couldn’t have been published anywhere else, while Scott C. Holstad’s unquestionably could [“guns” for example].

— Excerpt of review of Poked With Sticks vol. 5 by S LeviDusty Dog Reviews vol. 11, 1993, p. 47.

  • Scott C. Holstad is a first rate poet!

Gerald Locklin, Professor Emeritus, California State University Long Beach, Charles Bukowski’s favorite living writer, a Long Beach legend and author of over 150 books

  • The Journal of Sister Moon is a high quality, perfect-bound magazine that clearly illustrates it is possible to present sexually explosive ideas with taste, style and class. … While many of the offerings are clearly lesbian, this doesn’t necessarily mean The Journal of Sister Moon is a lesbian publication. I appreciated the inclusion of Scott Holstad’s “You Weren’t Like This Before,” whose poem is reproduced here in its entirety:
    • “My girlfriend tells me I’m turning into even/ more of a pervert, that I’m too caught up in/ TITS TITS TITS/ and she might be right about that but I can/ think of less desirable or certainly less entertain-/ing hangups and besides they turn me on.”

— Excerpt of review of The Journal of Sister Moon vol. 4 by S Levi, Dusty Dog Reviews vol. 11, 1993, p. 47.


  • The selection is widely eclectic, with a leaning toward the surreal. This issue includes [work] by S.C. Holstad.

— Excerpt of review of Avalon Rising May 1993 by JM BennettTapRoot Reviews vol. 4, 1994.

  • Poems and stories to suck the wind outta yr solar plexus. Or maybe like broken glass chugging through your veins. Scott Holstad stands out..

— Excerpt of review of Swoon vol. 2 by M HalchinDriver’s Side Airbag vol. 17, 1994, p. 38.

— Review of Bukowski and Serial Killers vol. 1.1 by A Dyer, BBR Directory, March 1994.

  • Scott Holstad’s Junction City [Sister Moon Press] — Highly Recommended

M Malone, Wormwood Review vol. 135, 1994, p. 134.

— Improvijazzation Nation 17, 1994.  

  • … some good quiet reflective material…where you can only walk outside and think…and hope this feeling never ends

— Excerpt of review of Distant Visions, Again and Again (The Poet Tree) by M HalchinDriver’s Side Airbag vol. 17, 1994, p. 41.

  • An introspective, autobiographical glimpse of a working class hero/loner.

— Excerpt of review of Distant Visions, Again and Again (The Poet Tree) by Frank Allen, Library Journal, Directory of American Poetry Books – Volume 2 – Page 137.

  • Great stuff from Scott Holstad

– Review of Penny Dreadful Review vol. 20 by M Halchin, Driver’s Side Airbag, vol. 17, 1994, p. 38.


  • There are people who draw blood when you touch their pages. Here’s one such, with a Scott Holstad poem about a stripper and dreams of rescue.

— Excerpt of review of Mystious Wysteria vol. 6 in Taproot Reviews, 1995.

  • Scott Holstad’s Binge [Undulating Bedsheets Productions] — Very Highly Recommended

M Malone, Wormwood Review vol. 138, 1995, p. 195.


  • …Overall a sense climbing towards tomorrow, even if today pushes you thru the industrial meat grinder for another countless day.

— Excerpt of review of Places [Sterling House P], Undulating Bedsheets Productions, April 1996.

Daily Bruin, April 15, 1996.

  • “Holstad’s poetry … has received much praise. His work is described by one critic as “brassy and strong.” According to The Hawaii Review, “Holstad’s poetry is reminiscent of the Beat Movement and has a Whitmanish-Ferlinghetti street feel… Michael Bugeja from Writer’s Digest Magazine wrote, ‘I enjoy Holstad’s poems and appreciate their style.’ A prolific poet, Holstad has also found the time to get married, hold down a job as editor of TSI Publications in Los Angeles and study computer engineering at UCLA. Also, he gives poetry readings in many states, especially in California.

— Excerpt of article in Higher Ground vol. 3.1, 1996, pp. 5-6.

  • Scott C. Holstad: PLACES (S.C. Holstad, P.O. Box 17657, Beverly Hills, CA 90209-3657, USA)
    • Seit Jahren der nicht ganz einsame Poet alltaglicher Beobachtungen, personlicher Gefuhle und dokunmentiertem Zeitgeist. Sehr einfuhlsam, wenn such ausschlieBlich in Englisch.

— Excerpt of a review of Places from Germany’s EBUS Music News, 1996

[Forgive the very poor transcription job I (Scott) did in typing this out. The print was so small in this ancient German publication, and I guess my eyes are also so old, that I literally couldn’t make most of it out at all, and that was with optical aid.]

Excerpt of a review of Places, G.P. Lainsbury, VOX vol. 146, University of Calgary, 1996


  • With his scruffy, rambling and streetwise poems, Scott C. Holstad is in the forefront of an important movement transforming American poetry.

— Legendary NYC literary icon, Edward Field, author/editor of 25+ books, winner of the Lamont and Lambda Literary awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, W.H. Auden Award, the Prix de Rome and an Academy Award.

  • You’re doing great!

— One of many written/published comments, statements, etc, made to or about Scott C. Holstad by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1997.


  • Holstad’s work is brassy and strong.

Laurel Speer, poet and author of 25 books

  • I enjoyed Holstad’s poems and appreciate their style.

Michael Bugeja, Editor of the annual Poet’s Market, columnist for Writer’s Digest Magazine and author of nearly 30 books


  • The apocalyptic aspects of horror, cyberpunk and surrealism, with a steady overtone of mental aberrations, are explored through the diverse arts of literature, music, film, art, comics and technology. This issue contains [work by] Scott C. Holstad.

— Excerpt of review of CYBER-PSYCHOS AOD #8, 1999 by A DyerBBR Directory, February 1999.

  • Poetry about insanity and patient’s rights…

— Description of Hang Gliding on X [Lummox Press], RD Armstrong, Publisher

Unlikely Stories Presents Scott Holstad. Jonathan Penton, Unlikely Stories, responding to most of Holstad’s 1999 books, as well as many poems that were being published in a large number of magazines. 1999

  • I love Scott’s work. Many people accuse me of still being too much of a “Beat”- and if that is a name they want to stick on me, I’ll wear it proudly. Scott’s work is highly indicative of the entire Beat movement and I find that very enlivening. He runs a movie real stream of consciousness for us to peer at and experience the interior workings of one man’s Mind, a man of OUR time. Many people (mostly those that don’t access the Internet) feel that poetry is dead. A past life form. Poets like Scott breathe vitality into the new, the next, the “our” generation of poets – which is alive and flourishing due to the networking we writers and poets are doing via the Internet. Scott is an important part of the structure we’re creating on the web. This book is A Must Read!
    • A SAMPLE POEM [from Shadows…]:
    • Halloween, 1998
    • Shaved head,/ mascara,/ black eyeliner &/ black lipstick,/ wearing my/ Shadow Project/ t-shirt,/ the one with/ Rozz holding a/ large knife above/ a naked girl behind/ swirling veiled/ curtains/ i cut myself/ the blood runs/ deep and ruby/ covering my arm/ it/ congeals/ in lumps/ while some drips off/ people walk widely/ around me as i go/ into a bookstore/ and buy/ Soldier of Fortune/ then on to/ Tower/ to get two new/ My Dying Bride/ CDs and then/ on for Japanese/ i might go see/ London After Midnight/ at Coven 13 tonight/ i might sit at home/ and write lousy poems/ i might play with my/ cat and then go/ trick people to death/ it’s a/ freeze/ frame/ happenstance/ reality/ of sickness/ and i pop/ 3/ Xanax/ and fight back/ the urge to go/ out and/ murder the/ bitch sitting/ in the bank’s/ parking lot/ beside me
      • 1999 Scott C. Holstad

— A review of Shadows Before the Maiming [Gothic Press] by Leslie Blanchard, Editor A Writer’s Choice Literary Journal, September 1999.

  • This poetry is about laughing in death’s face, begging it to play Russian Roulette with you.” [When reading], “my stomach became twisted in knots…and [I] became nauseous toward the middle… [But] I could not put this book down…It’s the same feeling I got when I read American Psycho, though the subject matter is different… You can’t read this book and not be greatly affected.

— Excerpt of a reader review of The Napalmed Soul [Chiron Review Press] by ZM Gold on Amazon

— Review of Scott C. Holstad‘s NEVER-ENDING CIGARETTES by Christopher M, First Class Magazine vol. 12, 1999

  • Pay attention. Exactly this lesson Scott lays out line by insightful line in his newest chap. Beginning and ending in the confines of coffeehouses, he points out that caffeinated moments of conversation and meditation can only grow by feeding them with life experience. Scott then takes the rest of the book to describe and analyze life as he sees it in the big city. The usual bad boys, druggies and hookers run the streets of the west, the ER ward works overtime, and all around everyone’s looking for some sort of revolution: salvation for the unrighteous. Scott finds his in an open mind flowing into well-constructed verse, a hot cuppa joe, and some cool jazz. It all keeps him sane and able to sleep at night, making for a guy with something interesting to talk about.

Review of Scott C. Holstad‘s Never-Ending Cigarettes by Pooch, Flipside Magazine vol. 120, 1999


Rob Cohen, Caffeine Magazine

  • Holstad’s an American poet who’s garnered a reputation for shaking free of the ‘literary stodge’ and putting the fun back into poetry, picking up comparisons to Whitman and Ferlinghetti along the way. This volume brings together previously uncollected poems both reprinted and previously unpublished. [Scott C. Holstad, SHADOWS BEFORE THE MAIMING, ISBN 0-913045-08-X, A5, 56pp, $7 from Gothic Press, 4998 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808-3043, USA.]

— Review of Scott C. Holstad’s Shadows Before the Maiming by A Dyer, BBR Directory, February 2000

— Question asked of Holstad in an interview with Jonathan Penton, Publisher Sick Puppy Press (2000)

  • Scott C. Holstad’s Shadows Before the Maiming: Thirty-seven modern poems with deep fantasy-and-terror impact

— Description of ‘Shadows‘ by S Eng, author of Yellow Rider

  • Themes of self-mutilation and dementia comprise a good portion of this new (burnt) offering by one of our frequent poetic contributors. His natural style makes the images even more unsettling. Place them beside several gothic pieces, and you’ve got an unassuming take on the dark and forbidden. Scott’s words, clear and sharp as the knife cuts on his body, are not borne of sympathy, but of the need for redemption. Short, quick lines and clarity of language give these poems of blood and death focus and power. Once again, Mr. Holstad writes with soiled hands so that ours remain clean. We should be grateful…”. [52 pages. $7.00. Gothic Press, 4998 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge LA, 90808-3043]

— Review of Scott C. Holstad‘s Shadows Before The Maiming by Pooch, Flipside Magazine vol. 121, 2000

  • You may wish to check out [Scott Holstad’s] short and powerful chap called Shrapnel.

Flipside Magazine, 2000


  • Scott Holstad thinks in poetry, in rhythmical waves. His imagination surges ahead, large and generous, the cut of his lines always clean and firm…‘Tennessee Football Saved My Ass’ reminds us of Holstad’s unfailing, albeit dark sense of humor.

— Excerpt of a description of Cells [PublishAmerica] appearing on the book as a back cover blurb. Written by Marilyn Kallet, Professor Emerita, University of Tennessee, 20+ year Director of the UT Creative Writing program, Knoxville Poet Laureate and award-winning author of 18 books.

  • When you dig for the painful memories that won’t go away, the relics of a man’s life, you come away with ArtifactsScott’s work hangs with a sharp edge… [and he] writes with one eye on the people around him who have suffered for his pains, the casualties of the craziness that lurks inside all of us. Artifacts is a book for the strangers and the survivors who populate the poems which have come from Holstad.

Unlikely Stories, 2002


  • Cells is as grand as it is explosive. Scott Holstad’s urgent and unflinching honesty will leave you breathless. A brave and heartbreaking book written by a fearless poet.

— Poet and writer Lisa Zaran, award-winning author of a dozen books


  • Knoxville-native poet Scott Holstad … has just published his 15th collection of poems, entitled Cells (PublishAmerica, $19.95). I am a creation/ of turbulence, Holstad writes,, and critic Robert Polito warns readers to “Hang on for your life.” Poems in this collection are thematically unified telling of Holstad’s struggle with bipolar disorder, dealing with such topics as psychiatric medications, suicide attempts, hospitalizations and jail. His collection Places was nominated for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in Literature.

Knoxville News-Sentinel, NA, 2004

  • ‘I am a creation of turbulence,’ Scott C. Holstad writes in his new book Cells. Indeed! Cells is fierce, funny, tender, and devastating. Hang on for your life…

— Award-winning critic, biographer, poet and essayist, Robert Polito, Director of the Writing Program and Chair of the Humanities Department at the New School. Additionally, founder of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the New School, President of the Poetry Foundation several times and recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography.


— Excerpt of a reader review of Cells [PublishAmerica] by AF McKinley on Amazon

— Review of Scott C. Holstad’s referenced Sandburg scholarship appearing in The Best of The Asheville Poetry Review, Vol. 11.14 by Jeannine Hall Gailey, NewPages, January 31, 2005

— Excerpt of review of Main Street Rag vol. 10.2, 2005 by Sima RabinowitzNewPages, September 30, 2005

— Excerpt of a reader review of Cells [PublishAmerica] by CL Huth on Amazon

— Excerpt of a reader review of Cells by Barry G on Amazon


The Little Red Books — Titles & Comments, 2006

  • [Street Poems is] highly recommended if you like hard hitting and humorous poetry. Truly a gem by one of the best second-generation Beats. Do yourself a favor and expand your mind with this great book.

— Review of Scott C. Holstad’s Street Poems by GAV on Goodreads


  • This is a book [Artifacts] that will leave you thinking and if you’re lucky, questioning long held beliefs about some tough subjects, like great poetry often will. Great poetry is alive and well!

— A reader review of Artifacts by SoHon, Goodreads


  • The presence of Lummox Press in San Pedro adds luster to the southern California literary scene, though Armstrong [editor/publisher], non-parochial, publishes a spectrum of writers from New York City westward. Other writers include Bill Shields, Laura Joy Lustig, Scott C. Holstad, and William Taylor, Jr.

— Comment about the Little Red Book Series by Robert Peters, as quoted in The Long Way Home anthology


Asheville Poetry Review, 2010

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