University of Texas at El Paso


Spencer Holst Bibliography


Written Works by the Author


This section includes stories first published by the author in magazines, books of stories, and anthologized stories. The entries are listed chronologically.


Holst, Spencer. 25 Stories. New York: Spencer Holst, 1960.

[Not seen. Available at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Utah State University, and the University of Virgina.]


Holst, Spencer. Thirteen Essays. New York: Living Theatre, 1960.

[Not seen. Available at Broward County Library in Florida, Guilford College Library in North Carolina, and the University of Texas, Austin.]


Holst, Spencer. Ten-Thousand Reflections. New York: D. Saxon, 1964.

[Not seen. Available at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, San Diego, the University of Kansas, New York University, and the University of Virginia.]


Wheeler, Beate and Holst, Spencer. Drawings by Beate Wheeler. New York: Hawk’s Well Press, 1963.

[Not seen. Available at California State University, Sacramento, the University of California, San Diego, the University of California, Santa Barbara, Purdue University, the University of Kansas, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Brown University.]


Lachmann, Vera and Holst, Spencer. Golden Dances the Light in The Glass: Golden Tanzt das Licht im Glas. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini Presse, 1969.

[This is one of several collaborations between the author and the German poet Lachmann, featuring Holst’s facing-page prose translations Lachmann’s poetry.]


Holst, Spencer. On Demons. New York: Doctor Generosity Press, 1970.

[This is a self-published edition of one of Holst’s stories with illustrations by Beate Wheeler. The story would later be republished in the Zebra Storyteller.]


Holst, Spencer. “The Language of Cats.” Cosmopolitan. Circa 1970 (publication information unknown).

[The title story of Holst’s first collection appeared for the first time in this magazine, and in French in Cosmopolitan/Paris Edition. Unfortunately, Cosmopolitan is not included in any of the periodicals indexes that I found, so I can only include a rough estimate of the year that the story may have been printed here. This information comes from the title page of The Zebra Storyteller.]


Holst, Spencer. The Language of Cats and Other Stories. New York: McCall Publishing Co.: 1971.

[Holst’s first collection of short stories published by a major press. Also published in Spanish as El Idioma de los Gatos (Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Flor, 1999).] 


Holst, Spencer. “The Giant Rat of Sumatra.” Oui. November 1973. ?-?

[Holst published this story, reprinted in Spencer Holst Stories under the title of “The Case of the Giant Rat of Sumatra” for the first time in this racy men’s magazine. The magazine can be obtained easily on the Internet, from sites like This bibliographer did not do so, so the story’s page numbers are unspecified.]


Lachmann, Vera and Holst, Spencer. Names Become Islands: Namen Werden Inseln. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini Press: 1975.

[Not seen. Available in eleven libraries worldwide, including the University of Chicago, Tulane University, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Franklin Pierce College, Columbia University, Bryn Mawr College, Texas State University, San Marcos, and the University of Texas at Austin.]


Holst, Spencer. “%#&?! The Typewriter Repairman.” Mademoiselle. Vol. 81 (April 1975), 177.

[The first publication of this story, which would be collected in Spencer Holst Stories with the revised title “The Typewriter Repairman,” was in this women’s magazine.]


Holst, Spencer. “The Frog.” New York Times Book Review. 29 February, 1976.

[Holst published this story for the first time here, about a month before it would be released in the compilation Spencer Holst Stories.]


Holst, Spencer. Spencer Holst Stories. New York: Horizon Press, 1976.

[Holst’s second major short story collection.]


Holst, Spencer. I Thought You Were Writing. New York: Horizon Press, 1976.

[With illustrations by Beate Wheeler. Collected in The Zebra Storyteller.]


Holst, Spencer. “Brilliant Silence.” The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Ed. R.V. Cassill. 5th Ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978. 768-9.

[This story is published in several editions of this canonical anthology. It has also been anthologized in Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories (Ed. James Thomas and Denise Thomas. New York: Norton, 1992),


Holst, Spencer. Something to Read to Someone. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1980.

[With illustrations by Beate Wheeler.]


Lachmann, Vera and Holst, Spencer. Grass Diamonds: Halmdiamanten. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini Presse, 1982.

[Not seen. Available in 7 libraries worldwide including the University of California, Santa  Barbara, the University of Iowa, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Columbia University, the Uninversity of Cincinnati, and the University of London.]


Lachmann, Vera and Holst, Spencer. Halmdiamanten: Englische Prosaubertragungen. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini, 1982.

[Not seen. Available at Koniklijke Bibliotheek and University Library, Utrecht.]


Holst, Spencer. The Zebra Storyteller: Collected Stories. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1993.

[This book, which features artwork by Beate Wheeler, is the definitive collection of his work to this point. It includes all of the stories published in his previous collections, as well as some work that would be published at a later date. With the exception of some of the material in Brilliant Silence, the Lachmann translations, and some of the author’s earliest stories, this book represents all of Holst’s writing.]


Holst, Spencer. Brilliant Silence: A Book of Paragraphs & Sentences and 13 Very, Very Short Stories. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 2000.

[This book includes Holst’s prose pieces that were written to accompany George Quasha’s art installation called “Axial Stones.” Quasha’s photographs of the exhibit are featured in the book, as well as illustrations by Beate Wheeler.]


Holst, Spencer. “The Zebra Storyteller.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Jerome Beaty et al. 8th ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1992. 2-3.

[This story has been printed in numerous editions of this highly regarded anthology, as well as in the anthologies Fantastc Worlds: Myths, Tales, and Stories (Ed. Eric S. Rabkin. New York: Oxford UP, 1979), and Stories: An Anthology and an Introduction (ed. Eric S. Rabkin. New York: Longman, 1994). Additional stories have been featured in various other anthologies; “The Language of Cats” was printed in Supernatural Cats: An Anthology (ed. Claire Necker. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972), “On Hope” was published in Sudden Fiction International: Sixty Short-short Stories (ed. Robert Shapard and James Thomas. New York: Norton, 1989),  and “I Thought You Were Writing” and “Mona Lisa Meets Buddha” were both published in Worlds in Small (ed. John Robert Columbo. Vancouver: Cacanadada Press, 1992.)]


Holst, Spencer. Prose for Dancing. Barrytown, New York: Station  Hill Press, 2003.

[Collected in The Zebra Storyteller.]


Audio Tapes


Holst was considered to be more than anything a storyteller. He frequently gave readings in churches and coffee houses, and, in the height of his popularity, was often featured on WBAI, the listener-sponsored radio station of New York. The following is a list, in chronological order, of published and archived audio recordings of the author telling his stories.


Holst, Spencer. Poetry Reading, Jan, 17, 1970. (Reel-to-reel tape). Rec. by Paul Blackburn at Dr. Generosity’s. 20011101.

[Not seen. Located in the library of the University of California, San Diego.]


Rothenberg, Jerome. Sampler Cassette (cassette tape). New Wilderness Foundatioin, 1977.

[This cassette tape can be found in five libraries worldwide: that of Stony Brook University in New York, the University of California, Irvine, the University of California, Riverside, the University of California, San Diego, and the Universitiy of Cincinnati, Ohio. Holst performs, as well as Jerome Rothenberg, Hannah Weiner, Armond Schwerner, Philip Corner, Jackson Mac Low, Annea Lockwood, Leonard and Mary Crow Dog, Richard Schechner, Joan Mcintosh, and Charlie Morrow.]


Holst, Spencer. Spencer Holst (cassette tape). New Wilderness Foundation, 1975.

[The stories on this cassette are taken from Spencer Holst Stories. Libraries where the tape can be found are the University of California, Irvine, the University of California, San Diego, Chicago Public Library, Rutgers University in New Jersey,  and SUNY at Albany.]


Holst, Spencer and St. George Tucker, Tui. There Are Different Kinds of Writing (cassette tape). New Wilderness Foundation, 1977.

[Holst reads and St. George Tucker plays bass recorder. This item can be found at The University of California, Irvine, Northwestern University, Rutgers University, or New York University.]


Holst, Spencer. Spencer Holst. New Wilderness Foundation, 1977.

[Not seen. This tape is only available at the library of New York University.]


Holst, Spencer. The Institute for the Foul Ball. New Wilderness Foundation: 1977.

[Not seen. Available at the University of California, Irvine, the University of California, San Diego, Ramparo College of New Jersey Library, and New York University.]


Knowles, Jeffrey and Croes, Steve. Train of Thought: Stories, music, & eclectic audio entertainment Vol 1. (cassette tape). Com Audio, Inc., 1991.

[This cassette is a whimsical mixture of country, folk, and jazz music, and storytelling. Holst contributes with a rendition of his story, “On Hope.”]


Holst, Spencer and Yourgrau, Barry. Poetry Reading at Sarah Lawrence College (cassette tape). Date unknown,  20050404, Sarah Lawrence College Archives.

[Not seen.]







Selected Review


No critical scholarship has been done on the author, and very little biographical information about him is available. For this reason, I have selected the most informative review of “The Zebra Storyteller” to include in this bibliography.


Horvath, Brooke. “The Zebra Storyteller: Collected Stories.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction. 14:1 (Spring 1994), 218.

[Horvath’s review is useful because she views this collection in the context of Holst’s status as a popular underground storyteller. She calls the reader’s attention to the trademarks of his style; the medium of the fable and his disruptive meta-narrative (“authorial intrusioins and multiple-choice endings”).]


Reference Works Consulted


225, 230, 280, 330, 335, 340,345, 380, 400, 415, 465, 565, 595, 600, 3310, 3378, Archival Resources, New York Times 1851-2000, Biography Resource Center, Project Muse, Expanded Academic ASAP, Factiva, LexisNexis Academic, Literature Online, Periodicals Archive Online, Periodicals Index Online, Google.


Editor’s Note:  This select bibliography is a reprint of the bibliography assignment completed by Wendy Freedman (as mentioned in her essay) for Prof. Robert Stanton’s course in June of 2006.