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.
- A Finnish to English translation of this entire introduction created by Scott C. Holstad and a side-by-side rendering of the official Finnish Rendezvou’ssa Holstad article and Holstad’s English translation can be obtained via the link in this sentence.
- 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.
— Shockbox, 1991.
- 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).
— Dusty Dog Reviews, 1991.
- A real treat here — ALPHA BEAT SOUP and COKEFISH married in a king-sized concoction [Bouillabaisse]. 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.
— Shockbox: The Literary Art Magazine With Teeth, 1992.
- …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 [BHP Broadsides] in the mail from authors highlighted by this press. Poetry spread like evil seeds across the country. Always interesting, great writing. [with SCH]
— 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.”
— Poetic Page, 1992.
- big head press broadsides: the shit you’d be stupid to live without. c/o Scott Holstad
— Extra Cheese, 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.]
— Shockbox: The Literary Art Magazine With Teeth, 1992.
- The Big Head Press Broadside Series — highly recommended and they’re everywhere! Write Scott C. Holstad, Phoenix AZ for more info.
— The Journal of Sister Moon, 1992.
- Big Head Press is a press that puts out poetry broadsides from various authors. My favorites so far have been Lyn Lifshin’s poem about anorexia and Dan Nielsen’s spoof of the NEA. Write them soon to get a catalog of their authors and their guidelines at Scott Holstad, Phoenix AZ.
— Permafrost, 1992.
- Bukowski and Serial Killers has some of the best writers around, Lifshin and Holstad…
— Wormfeast, 1992.
- The killer Big Head Press Broadside Series is being distributed around the world. Contributors include Antler, Belinda Subraman, Arthur Knight. Get in on it and send a SASE to Scott Holstad for guidelines!
— The OTISian Directory, 1992.
- I devoured Street Poems and found it very much to my liking, though I’m still attempting to bandage the lining of my stomach.
— Shockbox Press, 1992.
- Holstad’s poetry is a poetry of head-on Truth with few regards for sensual substance. His is a VOICE SPEAKING from the bowels of realism, modernism, an ism of jism & maleness… The poems are easy to read, come quick with actual, daily language – not implying that they lack depth for there is a noticeable personal depth, layers of self, to discover. For anyone who enjoys reading the poems of Kurt Nimmo, Mark Weber, John Yamrus or Gerald Locklin & Charles Bukowski, this book would certainly tickle one’s fancies.
— Excerpt of review of DANCING WITH THE LIGHTS OUT by ron a, TT Press, 1992.
- 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!
— Shockbox: The Literary Art Magazine With Teeth, 1992.
- 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, 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.
— Dusty Dog Reviews, 1993.
- 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.
— GAV, Goodreads.
- 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].
— Dusty Dog Reviews, 1993.
- I keep seeing Scott Holstad’s work and I keep liking it. He writes stuff that crazy fuckers like me can identify with. And I certainly mean that as a compliment.
— Fine Wreckage Press, 1993.
- 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.”
— Dusty Dog Reviews, 1993.
- The selection in Avalon Rising is widely eclectic, with a leaning toward the surreal. This issue includes [work] by S.C. Holstad.
— TapRoot Reviews, 1994.
- Poems and stories [Swoon] to suck the wind outta yr solar plexus. Or maybe like broken glass chugging through your veins. Scott Holstad stands out..
— Driver’s Side Airbag, 1994.
- As the title suggests, serial killers and Bukowski provide the impetus for this off-shoot from Robert Howington’s other literary magazine Experiment in Words. BASK features poetry and prose from Lyn Lifshin, Alex Jager, and Scott C. Holstad.
— BBR Directory, 1994.
— M Malone, Wormwood Review vol. 135, 1994, p. 134.
- Highlighted in review of Houston’s Propaganda Magazine. Reference “SEVERAL good pieces … from ‘I.N.’ friend Scott C. Holstad.”
— Improvijazzation Nation, 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 in Driver’s Side Airbag, 1994.
- An introspective, autobiographical glimpse of a working class hero/loner.
— Excerpt of review of Distant Visions, Again and Again by Frank Allen, Library Journal, Directory of American Poetry Books – Volume 2 – Page 137.
- Great stuff from Scott Holstad [in Penny Dreadful Review].
— Driver’s Side Airbag, 1994.
- Another quality issue [Clutch] at once honest and ominous… An excellent assemblage of some of the finest American small press writers going (Mark Weber, Bukowski, HOLSTAD [my emphasis], Nicole Panter, etc.).
– Flipside Magazine, 1994.
- There are people who draw blood when you touch their pages. Here’s one such [in Mystious Wysteria], with a Scott Holstad poem about a stripper and dreams of rescue.
— Taproot Reviews, 1995.
— M Malone, Wormwood Review vol. 138, 1995, p. 95.
- Places: Some quieter reflections on Scott’s college days but also the hard edge of living in the darker parts of Los Angeles. There are some funny moments too about readings and some of the self-important slobs that clog it up. Overall a sense climbing towards tomorrow, even if today pushes you thru the industrial meat grinder for another countless day.
— Undulating Bedsheets Productions, 1996.
— Daily Bruin, April 15, 1996.
— Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald, April 19, 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.
— Higher Ground, 1996.
- 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.
— EBUS Music News, 1996
- Scott Holstad is a hardworking poet whose [new] book, Places, has just been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry… Holstad’s poems are predominantly voice driven — and that voice is often filled with the anger of moral outrage. Poems such as “let’s give ourselves a round,” “this is what we are” and “just for kicks” express the poet’s disgust with his fellow American’s penchant for mindless violence and excess. But Holstad’s poems are just plain angry. In the poem “smoking,” the poet, having recently quit after ten years expresses a desire to “file [his] teeth / on your forehead.” Places, however, also announces some new directions for Holstad’s work — some poems reveal a quieter, more contemplative aspect of his voice… But this is not to say that Holstad has gone soft–not by any stretch of the imagination. These poems provide relief from a vision of the world which might otherwise prove too bleak for most readers… Ultimately, for Holstad, as for Bukowski, “The poem is the / crutch, the gun, the / good drink.” Need I say more?
— 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 [of CYBER-PSYCHOS AOD] contains [work by] Scott C. Holstad.
— BBR Directory, 1999.
- Poetry about insanity and patient’s rights…
— Description of Hang Gliding on X [Lummox Press], RD Armstrong, Publisher
- When poetry focuses on the more sinful, cruel, and pathological side of human nature, we typically refer to it as “dark.” I wouldn’t describe Scott Holstad’s poetry that way. His works are so violent, angry, and self-effacing that they seem to transcend darkness; they are so engorged with pain that questions of morality and immorality seem irrelevant. Despite his recent Pulitzer nomination, Scott remains active on the small press circuit, which is odd, because you’d think most small presses would be afraid to print this stuff.
— Unlikely Stories Presents Scott Holstad. Jonathan Penton, Unlikely Stories, 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 Writer’s Choice Literary Journal, 1999.
- This poetry [in The Napalmed Soul] 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.
— ZM Gold on Amazon.
- NEVER-ENDING CIGARETTES is a cool, enjoyable, 10-ton light, flighty, dead-serious, humorous, sad collection of coffee-shop pennings and curt observations of humans dancing in their events, the raw, tired, hunkered-down spectacles of their existences – or is it a singular, shared endurance test the human race faces as a unified bundle of suction-cupped tentacles? Whores seen from a distance with a microscope, and wrestling with the bent-on-chaos landscapes of USA, Holstad’s language portrays the otherwise mundane with fresh and engaging word-plotting.
— First Class Magazine, 1999.
- Pay attention. Exactly this lesson Scott lays out line by insightful line in Never-Ending Cigarettes. 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.
— Flipside Magazine, 1999.
- For the better part of the 1990s, Caffeine Magazine was the largest poetry magazine in the country… Contributors included Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Scott Holstad…
— 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.]
— BBR Directory, 2000.
- Your most recent book, The Napalmed Soul, is frequently described as “disturbing.” What kind of people do you think your work attracts?
— Question asked of Holstad in an interview with Jonathan Penton, 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, 2000.
- 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…”. [Shadows Before The Maiming. 52 pages. $7.00. Gothic Press, 4998 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge LA, 90808-3043]
— Flipside Magazine, 2000.
- You may wish to check out [Scott Holstad’s] short and powerful chap called Shrapnel.
— Flipside Magazine, 2000.
- Scott C. Holstad, Excerpts of Interview Conducted by J Penton, Published in Unlikely Stories, 2000
- J Penton: What follows is an interview that I conducted with Scott Holstad in January, 2000.
- JP: Scott, when did you start writing poetry?
- SH: In the late ‘80s. I had been keeping diaries for years, dozens of them, and they just sort of migrated into poetry. I found much of what I was writing was poetic, so I started trying to write actual poetry outside of my journals. I sent a few of these newer poems out and surprisingly enough, some were accepted and that was pretty validating in many ways.
- JP: What inspired when you first began to write poetry, and what inspires you now?
- SH: Deep depression. I didn’t find out until the 1990s that I was manic-depressive, obsessive-compulsive and that I have [ADD], but I was going to a very deep depression at the time and the writing felt very therapeutic, to get the stuff [out of me and] down on paper. It probably kept me out of the crazy house, although I had it mentioned to me a couple of times as a place I should probably visit.
- JP: How many times have you been in a lockdown ward?
- JP: It’s not really possible to discuss your poetry without discussing your suicide attempts. How many times have you attempted suicide, and when were those times?
- JP: Do you think you pose a threat to yourself?
- JP: In your poem outta sight, outta mind you make references to buying and using drugs. Is this something you do today?
- SH: No. In fact, that was the one lie that was in the book [The Napalmed Soul]. A friend of mine does it, back in California, and I put myself in his head for that poem, for the first part of it. I talked about going down to the park to buy some crank. This park is right next to the police station, and they sell drugs there right out in the open. People ask me if my poems are true, and 99% of them are, but that portion of that poem was part of the one percent that is not.
- JP: Your most recent book, The Napalmed Soul, is frequently described as “disturbing.” What kind of people do you think your work attracts?
- SH: Two types, it seems. One, youngsters, teenagers who are going through difficult times themselves. They seem to relate to my stuff, and I get a lot of fan mail from people in high school, or just getting out of high school, telling me that my work really hit them. And the other set is writers. A lot of writers write to me and tell me that they’re really inspired by my work or moved by it. I have some friends who are much higher up the writing totem pole than I am, and they have written some very kind words about the book.
- “I write because I feel I have to, that if I didn’t, I would be either dead or in jail. Writing for me is not an option, it is a necessity, and my busy work-a-day career bullshit is directly opposed to the demons that need exorcised. I rarely have enough time to read anymore, but when I do, it is either Bukowski or the beat novelists. Buk is simply the only poet thus far (although a shout goes out to Scott C. Holstad) that really speaks my language…” — Terrance Leightner
— Excerpt of an interview of poet Terrance Leightner as seen in the Unlikely Stories Presents series. A perfect example of how Scott C. Holstad spent virtually his entire career either being compared to Bukowski or at times even put on the same level as Buk in some countries, states and a few mad brains. A complement to be sure and Terrance Leightner sounds like a younger me, so it’s unfortunate I never had a chance to meet him because I think we could have tipped a few back, shot the shit and hoped for a few minutes of sanity. This interview was conducted in 2001.
- Poem “Fairing (for Scott Holstad)” by Lisa Zaran published in Unlikely Stories sometime between 1999-2001.
- 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 Artifacts… Scott’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.
- 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!
— SoHon, Goodreads.
- 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.
— “Short Quotes and Book Notes.” Knoxville News-Sentinel, 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.
- These are visceral, gut wrenching, blood-letting, even damning lines that will open you up, cut at your heart… Read this collection and you will never be the same.
— Excerpt of a reader review of Cells by AF McKinley on Amazon.
- “Scott C. Holstad defended Carl Sandburg’s poetry and his focus on the American working class in the essay “Sandburg’s Chicago Poems: The Inscription of American Ideology.” When’s the last time I read anything that defended Carl Sandburg? I applaud Holstad for his courage in recognizing what was good in the work of this long-maligned American poet.”
— 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, 2005.
- The preference in Main Street Rag is for transparency, work with plain, strong language and a clear point of view — Scott C. Holstad’s “I Want It All,” for example… (Fuck the sweats, / I want the world. / No rhyming for me, / no structured / bullshit, I want / to spread out, / feel the bullets / whistle past.”)
— NewPages, September 30, 2005.
- Powerful. That’s the first word that came to mind when I was able to once more create conscious thought after I started reading this book of poetry [Cells]. A dark delving into a world most of us would rather decline insight, Mr. Holstad enlightens us with his downward spiral with his own demons and the path out… I won’t lie. These aren’t happy poems. No, they are the work of a survivor. And I applaud the raw vein he’s exposed in this book… If you read only one book of poetry this year, make it this one.
— CL Huth on Amazon.
- When I finished reading ‘Cells‘, I felt I had taken a ride with Mr. Holstad, felt I knew the man quite well. Unlike many collections of poetry, this one contains more than a central theme… Each poem is more akin to a chapter and taken together they form a loosely-woven tale; or perhaps the experience is more like spirits of half-remembered nightmares that lead to a ghost of an understanding about oneself. Describe it how you will, this is poetry with a jagged edge, and it cuts deeply.
— Barry G on Amazon.
- Short Excerpt of an interview of Scott C. Holstad by Lisa Zaran, published in the Orthogonal Review in November 2006
- Lisa Zaran: It was such a privilege for me to interview and pick the brain of Scott Holstad, a writer I’ve known for many years. Though we’ve never met, we’ve been in some sort of contact, usually through blogging or email. A poet, technical writer, English professor and over-educated man, Boston born, Scott has lived all over the continent including Tempe, Arizona where I also lived, though not at the same time. So, I know Scott is familiar with the Mill Avenue scene and Changing Hands bookstore as I am. [His] most current book is a full-length poetry collection entitled Cells. Confessions, his latest, is due for release soon.
- LZ: Throughout the nineties you released 13 books, one of which, Places (1996), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Since then you’ve written three more books of poetry, Artifacts, Cells and Confessions due out sometime this Fall. That was a massive output for one decade, referring back to 1991 through 1999. Do you feel that you’ve slowed down creatively or is it simply a matter of time and opportunity?
- LZ: I first discovered you sometime in the mid-nineties. I was just a fledgling then, barely getting my feet wet in the poetic world. You were very gracious at that time, offering advice and sharing some of your history. I remember I couldn’t visit any magazine or web-based journal without finding your name. Are you still a regular contributor to ezines, journals, and small press magazines?
- LZ: … did you ever contemplate suicide/attempt suicide, and any words on your recovery. Do you still try to balance your mental health and your life with medicine?
- LZ: Your chapbook, Artifacts (Sick Puppy Press) opens with two stanzas from a poem I’d written about you. In the poem I write:
- …it’s he who carries
- a storm in his head,
- carries wind, carries rain,
- carries the thought
- that every breath
- is a dangerous decision.
- At the time, I truly believed that. Is every breath still a dangerous decision?
- SH: I guess I’d have to say no. So many of my poems and books written between 1998 and 2002 were about insanity, depression, jail, suicide, death, etc. For a long while, it did seem that every breath was a dangerous decision. But like I just mentioned, I’ve been stable for about four years now and I intend to remain that way. I think it’s evened me out. Have I lost my edge? Perhaps. Has it been worth it? Yep.
- LRB 13 Hang Gliding On X by Scott C. Holstad; 48 pages. A cautionary set of poems detailing how NOT to deal with the LAPD.
—The Little Red Books — Titles & Comments, 2006.
- 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.
— Robert Peters, as quoted in The Long Way Home anthology.
I [Scott Holstad] am writing a small preface in the form of a basic description of the Little Red Book series to accompany and supplement the following review. Those unfamiliar with the LRB series may find it helpful…
RD “Raindog” Armstrong, publisher of Lummox Press didn’t set out with a vision of this LRB series in mind, but after publishing the first couple of books and with the feedback he’d received, he considered some advice and developed a plan that turned out to be pretty smart.
The Little Red Book Series was intentionally based on the size, shape, quality and portability model of the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. Over this 10-year period, Lummox Press published 59 Little Red Books by a variety of authors, some not well known, some virtual household names in many places. This series has experienced so much success and become so legendary that a number of these 59 volumes have become almost impossible to obtain while gaining quite a bit in monetary value on the market while many remain in high demand. It hasn’t hurt that the series developed a very solid reputation likely bettered only by the original City Lights series. Indeed, it’s not a rare thing to find an article that refers to or perhaps someone discussing one of these books by their number – not the author or title! Very similar, again, to how many fans approached the City Lights’ books. My [Scott Holstad] book is officially known as, and thus sometimes referred to as just described — LRB13 (LRB #13). Very simply, Hang Gliding on X was the 13th book published of the 59 books ultimately published over the decade this LRB Lummox Press anthology represents.
Now, a review of The Long Way Home: The Best Of the Little Red Book Series:
- This sturdy series of little ‘books’ has been compared to the Pocket Poets series begun in the early ’60s by City Lights Publishing and continues to delight audiences with the powerful imagery of the writers selected. As Laurel Speer (Beatlick News) wrote: “You can carry a Little Red Book in your coat pocket along with a passport. The passport will take you out of the country. The book will transport you out into the galaxy.” Over the past ten years, the Lummox Press has published poetry / prose collections by Alan Catlin, Hugh Fox, Scott Holstad, Gerald Locklin, Todd Moore, Bill Shields, AD Winans, [and more]…”
— M.etropolis, 2009.
- “the long way home and the blood on the floor“: Excerpt of a [Very Long] Review of THE LONG WAY HOME: THE BEST OF the LITTLE RED BOOK SERIES, Lummox Press, 2009 by Todd Moore, Outlaw Poetry, March 7, 2009
- This anthology is a compendium of the best poetry published in those Little Red Books from 1998 to 2008 and, if you just simply happened upon THE LONG WAY HOME on a bookstore shelf and if you are like me, you’d be unable to resist reaching for this volume. It’s one of the most attractive anthologies of poetry I’ve seen in awhile. The cover is set off in a stark black at top and bottom with a fire engine red swath across the middle. This is the kind of anthology which appeals to the primal instincts beginning with cover design and following through with the contents. And, if you think this is an exaggeration, try this poem by Scott Holstad:
- Some poems contain within them the ability to inflict serious damage to the reader… this kind of poetry inflicts the deepest of psychic wounds.
— Todd Moore, Outlaw Poetry, 2009.
- Scott C. Holstad is a prolific essayist and poet whose work has appeared in hundreds of magazines around the world…
— Asheville Poetry Review, 2010.
- [Regarding 1999’s Shadows Before the Maiming]
*** As seen on TODAY’s August 8, 2022 holiday special, “65 Best Halloween Quotes: Short Halloween Quotes from Movies,” where in an excerpt from Shadows Before The Maiming, Scott Holstad was attributed with one of the 65 Best (known) Halloween quotes, joining quotes from such authors and celebrities as Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Oscar Wilde, Sue Grafton, John Steinbeck, Vincent Price, H.P. Lovecraft, William Shakespeare, Anne Rice, Edgar Allen Poe and other notables. This piece was then picked up and published on websites such as Yahoo, Latest Movs and Flipboard.
December 2022 Update:
Since I posted the item above referring to the TODAY special on the best Halloween quotes, surprising me while containing one of mine. I mentioned a few other sites like Yahoo had picked it up. Well, it’s after Halloween and to my surprise, more and more sites kept picking this piece up and either running it as is while often changing to new graphics or they apparently used it as a model for their own versions (of say the Best 50 or even Top 10 all-time…). And while I didn’t appear in all of these, I was surprised that my quote kept appearing in more and more and that some of them were well known but many weren’t — to me — and some were even in other countries as far away as Vietnam! A lot of professional and personal blogs picked it up, but some commercial websites included Catalyst, Alongwater, The Spiritual Life, The Pick Quotes, MSN and AOL, just to name a few. So it occured to me it might be fun to post a small collage of a site’s header along with my actual quote, just for kicks. I just made one using the Yahoo version and I’m posting it beneath this paragraph. Cheers!