Spencer Holst

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Spencer Holst (1926–2001) was an American writer and storyteller.

Though he published several collections of stories, as well as volumes of translations, Holst was known primarily for the captivating live performances of his work that he regularly conducted, particularly in the New York City area, in a distinctive mellifluous, rhythmically cadenced voice. In his heyday he was often heard on the radio on New York's listener-sponsored radio station, WBAI.

For many years until his death, he lived at Westbeth Artists Housing in NYC. In addition to presenting readings there, he exhibited his watercolour paintings, many based on invented calligraphic motifs. The paintings were often shown with lengthy titles attached, some were small stories in themselves.

The typical Holst story might be a gentle but twisted fable, such as the tale of a frog who, having become addicted to morphine during a laboratory experiment, was rejected by the woman whose kiss transformed him back into a prince because he was, after all, only a junkie. Holst also wrote a number of paragraph-length prose pieces, which distilled a brief scene or anecdote into a glimmering, evanescent koan.

Selected works[edit]

  • Thirteen Essays / Sixty Drawings (1960) [Self Published] by Spencer Holst and drawings by Beatte Wheeler
  • On Demons (chapbook) (1970)
  • The Language of Cats and Other Stories (1971)
  • Spencer Holst Stories (1976)
  • Something to Read to Someone/16 Drawings (with Beate Wheeler) (1980)
  • The Zebra Storyteller (1993)
  • Brilliant Silence (2000)