Scott C. Holstad has authored 65+ books and is a 30-year member of the Authors Guild. His work has appeared in the Minnesota Review, Exquisite Corpse, Caffeine, Pacific Review, Palo Alto Review, Wisconsin Review, Lullwater Review, Sports Illustrated, the TODAY Show, Yahoo, MSN, Long Shot, Wormwood Review, Chiron Review, Pearl, Southern Review, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, AIM, Main Street Rag, Processed World, Flipside, Asheville Poetry Review and Poetry Ireland Review. He holds degrees and is an alumnus of the University of Tennessee, California State University Long Beach, UCLA, Queens University of Charlotte and the University of Michigan. He’s moved 35+ times, now lives in the Gettysburg PA area and loves books, vinyl and hockey. His website is at https://hankrules2011.com.
Shadows Before the Maiming
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, 1999.
Southern Poetry Anthology, VI: Tennessee2013
The Long Way Home: The Best of the Little Red Book Series — 1998-20082009
The Napalmed Soul1999
Hang Gliding on X1999
Scream When You Burn1998
Distant Visions, Again and Again1994
Grungy Ass Swaying (with Paul Weinman)1993
Industrial Madness (2nd ed.) (with Charles Bukowski)1993
endless cry of the dead and dying1992
Dancing with the Lights Out1992
Awards and Recognition
- Places (Sterling House, 1995) nominated for Pulitzer Prize in Literature
- President's Special Award for Outstanding Achievement. Society for Technical Communication (STC), 1999.
- Works Held in Over 400 Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscript Libraries Around the World. Examples include Yale University Library Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, UC Berkeley Libraries Bancroft Library Special Collections, Cambridge University Libraries Special Collections, Leabharlann UCD James Joyce Library, Special Collections, UC San Francisco Parnassus Kalmanovitz Library, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München University library, Brown University John Hay Library, Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays, University of Buffalo/SUNY Special Collections & Special Collections Poetry Periodical Collection, University of London Senate House Library, the Huntington Library Rare Book Collection & the University of Texas Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library (HRC). Works held in at least 10 national libraries, including the National Library of Scotland, National Library of Finland, Biblioteca Nacional De Espana – Madrid & Bibliothequen nationale de France.
Press and Media Mentions
- 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. -- Rendezvou’ssa, 1991.
- This anthology is a compendium of the best poetry published in those Little Red Books from 1998 to 2008 and 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 [Scott Holstad “Time to Fly” — TLWH: The Best Of the LRB Series: 1998-2008]. 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.
- The TODAY Show featured a Halloween special on August 8, 2022 in which some entertainment included a list titled "75 Halloween quotes that are sure to send chills down your spine," highlighting King, Poe, Rice, Bradbury, Lovecraft ... and Scott Holstad. A quote from Holstad's Shadows Before the Maiming was included, ultimately described as one of the 75 best Halloween quotes by many other media sources that picked this piece up, including Yahoo, Catalyst, AOL & MSN among many others.
- 20 Inspirational Quotes from Scott C. Holstad. Inspirational Quotes [dot net], 2022.
- 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
- 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
- "Scott C. Holstad is a prolific essayist and poet who has published fourteen books of his poems to date. His work has appeared in hundreds of magazines around the world, including The Minnesota Review, Wisconsin Review, Poetry Ireland, Arkansas Review, Lullwater, and The Southern Review. He resides in Knoxville, Tennessee." — Asheville Poetry Review, 2010
- Knoxville-native poet Scott Holstad ... has just published his 15th collection of poems, entitled Cells (2004). 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 and dealing with such topics as psychiatric medications, suicide, hospitalizations and jail. Additionally, his collection Places was nominated for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in Literature. -- Knoxville News-Sentinel, February 20, 2005
- “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, January 31, 2005
- Holstad interview with Orthonogal Review, 2006
- "When you dig for the painful memories that won't go away, the relics of a man's life, you come away with Artifacts. Artifacts is the latest chapbook from Scott C. Holstad, a man who has made a shocking and powerful mark on the small press scene since he first appeared... Scott 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." (Sick Puppy Press, 2001)
- "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…"
- "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." — Jonathan Penton, Unlikely Stories Presents Scott Holstad, 2000
- "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. " -- BBR Directory, February 2000
- Interview/Article with Scott C. Holstad: “A Poet Day to Day.“
- "Pulitzer Prize nominee visits ‘Places’ in personal history"
- A review of my book Places by GP Lainsbury, VOX, University of Calgary, 1996
- ”..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.” Description of Scott C. Holstad by the editors of the Hawai’i Review
- Scott Holstad’s Binge [Undulating Bedsheets Productions, 1994] — Very Highly Recommended -- M Malone, Wormwood Review
- "Scott Holstad’s Junction City [Sister Moon Press, 1993] — Highly Recommended" -- M Malone, Wormwood Review
- 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