A poet, writer, editor, publisher, organizer, scholar, professor. He grew up on a farm in Kentucky. He attended The University of Louisville and Oxford University. As poet and writer he is the recipient of numerous state, national, and international awards/prizes including The All Kentucky Poetry Prize, The Yeats Club of Oxford’s Prize for Poetry, and many others. In 2006 Dr. John Rocco (NYC) nominated Ron for The Nobel Prize in Literature. He was recently inducted into his high school’s (Ohio County High) Hall of Fame, representing his 1968 graduating class.
Ron taught college/university for 20 plus years at the University of Louisville, Spalding University, St. Catharine College, Jefferson Community College, and Bellarmine University. He has presented numerous talks, lectures, and writing workshops around the world at colleges, universities, and institutions which include Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), The University of Iceland (Reykjavik, Iceland), The University of Braga (Braga, Portugal), The University of Nijmegen (Nigmegen, The Netherlands), New York University (New York, New York), Hofstra University (New York, New York), The University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky), The University of New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana), and many more. In 1992 Ron and Kent Fielding founded The Global Literary Renaissance, a non-profit organization, supporting the global literary (& all arts) community. Ron was Director of the Global Literary Renaissance for 14 years.
Ron has produced 3,000 music and poetry events throughout Europe and the USA including many 24, 48, 72 & 90 hour Non-Stop Music & Poetry INSOMNIACATHONs plus he produced The Official Hunter S. Thompson Tribute (featuring Hunter, Johnny Depp, Warren Zevon, Roxanne Pulitzer, David Amram, Hunter’s mother, Virginia, & son, Juan, & many others), the London International Poetry & Song Festival (with Richard Deakin, 2001 & 2008), The New York City Underground Music & Poetry Festival (with Casey Cyr, David Amram, Nora Roberts, & Steve Dalachinsky, 2000), The Netherland’s 10-day International Meer Dan Woorden Festival (with Jan Pankow), LIVE at THE RUD Benefit Concert (with Jim James, of My Morning Jacket plus Carl Broehmel, Sarah Elizabeth, and Andy Cook), plus many many more. After he produced INSOMNIACATHON 2008 (April 2008) he retired from producing events but has since produced many other events including the 1st ever International GONZO FESTIVAL @ The Monkey Wrench in Hunter’s hometown of Louisville Kentucky. The 2010 event featured Anita Thompson, John Yarmuth, Frank Messina, and numerous other poets writers speakers singers musicians bands artists films. Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson featured a poem by Ron on the back cd soundtrack cover for Cameron’s film ELIZABETHTOWN.
Although Ron continues to travel the world more than ever presenting performances/readings/talks plus doing more and more film work writings and recordings he hopes to have finally retired from producing events which in many ways are similar to attempting to herd cats. ha. the amount of non-stop 24/7 energies before during and after production has nearly killed Ron several times.
Ron has edited, published, and recorded over 2,000 titles including work by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, Seamus Heaney, Jack Kerouac, David Amram, Diane di Prima, Lucien Stryk, Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, BONO, Frank Messina, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Amiri Baraka, Rita Dove, Thomas Merton, Wendell Berry, Edvard Munch, William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Herbert Huncke, James Laughlin, Douglas Brinkley, Lee Ranaldo, Robert Hunter, Anne Waldman, Ed Sanders, David Minton, Bob Holman, Cathal O’Searcaigh, Eithne Strong, Theo Dorgan, Jim Carroll, Casey Cyr, Denis Mahoney, Steve Dalachinsky, Jean Genet, Jan Kerouac, Christopher Felver, Brother Patrick Hart, Robert Lax, Rob Zoschke, Michael Pollock, Olafur Gunnarsson, Jim Irsay, Norb Blei, Michael Madsden, John Ventimiglia, Colin Shaddick, Jan Pankow, Gerald Nicosia, Dan Barth, Attila Gyenis, Duncan Barlow, Gray Zeitz, Nancy & Howard Wilson, Bragi Olafsson, Jim James, Zoe Artemis, Brett Eugene Ralph, Mark Reese, Danny O’Bryan, Jeffrey Lee Puckett, Ed McClanahan, Jordan Green, Annie McClanahan, Rani Newman, Dylan Whitehead, Birgitta Jonsdottir, Scott Mertz, Richard Taylor, Guy Mendes, Mama Ya, Louis Bickett II, Frank X Walker, Crystal Wilkinson, Todd Autry, Roz Newman, Helina Berryman, Christian Hansen, Andy Cook, Jen Burks, J. B. Wilson, Tyrone Cotton, Belinda Mason, Jim Wayne Miller, Leon Driskell, Joe Slavin, Suzette Henke, Sarah Epstein, Harald Naess, Richard Kain, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Brother Paul Quenon, Frederick Smock, Annalisa Papaleo, Xavier Noel, Stephen Donaldson, Mickey Hess, Emilia Filocamo, John Rocco, Al Paldrok, and many many others.
Ron’s work has been exhibited round the world from New York City to Louisville to New Orleans to San Francisco and from India to Czech Republic to Italy to Portugal to Ireland to The Netherlands to Iceland and beyond. The UN/UNESCO “Poetry On The Peaks” program selected The Dalai Lama/Ron Whitehead “Never Give Up” message/poem poster as its theme for 2002. Thousands of copies were donated and shipped to cities, mountain villages, Buddhist, and other communities, groups, and organizations round the world. The “Never Give Up” poem has been published in numerous publications including NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, a book by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and many others. Ron’s “Never Give Up” poem can also be found on t-shirts, cards, posters, and banners all over the world.
For the past 20 plus years Ron has been not only living but being his dream GOing non-stop on fire producing birthing creativity in all its manifestations. He is the author of 29 books and he has work on 37 CDs plus dvds and numerous videos. He is getting more and more involved in all aspects of film work. His 29 BOOK titles include:
WESTERN KENTUCKY: Lost & Forgotten, Found & Remembered (with Sarah Elizabeth)
THE THIRD TESTAMENT: Three Gospels of Peace (with art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti & David Minton), three volumes, originally published by Hozomeen Press, now available in one book
BEAVER DAM ROCKING CHAIR MARATHON, books 1 & 2 in one volume
GROWTH OF THE SOUL: Kentucky, Where Diamonds are Created: I Refuse, I Will Not Bow Down and I Will Never Give Up: an alchemical oral autobiographical history of The Global Literary Renaissance, White Fields Press, Published in Heaven, The Storm Generation, and my life (focus on 1990 to present)(work in progress)
I REFUSE I WILL NOT BOW DOWN I WILL NEVER GIVE UP (California’s Cook Creative, 2013)
His over 39 CD titles include:
TAPPING MY OWN PHONE
KENTUCKY: poems, stories, songs
I WILL NOT BOW DOWN
FROM ICELAND TO KENTUCKY & BEYOND
SWAN BOATS @ FOUR
THE SHAPE OF WATER
THE VIKING HILLBILLY APOCALYPSE REVUE
WALKING HOME I REFUSE Ron Whitehead and SOUTHSIDE’s SOUTHSIDE LOUNGE Ron Whitehead and SOUTHSIDE’s WE ARE THE STORM double cd THE DANCING NOBODY THE STORM GENERATION MANIFESTO & on parting, the wilderness poems: book/cd/dvd published by Gill Scott Holland’s Holland Brown Books available at www.hollandbrownbooks.com PRAYERS for THE MODERN TRAVELER, the last great truthtellers, nada (completed 3/11).
THE STORM GENERATION, with Blaak Heat Shujaa (Tee Pee Records, NYC).
THE EDGE OF AN ERA, with Blaak Heat Shujaa (Tee Pee Records, NYC).
I REFUSE I WILL NOT BOW DOWN I WILL NEVER GIVE UP (Smoketown Productions, 2013).
Ron reads his work solo and with musicians from around the world, in all genres of music, including David Amram, Iceland’s Sigur Ros & HOH & MEGAS, Tyrone Cotton, Iceland’s Michael & Danny Pollock of UTANGARDSMENN/The Outsiders, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Paul K & The Weathermen, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Frank Messina & Octopoet & Spoken Motion, James Walck & The Mind2Hands Symphonia, Vassar Clemens, Tom House, By The Grace of God, Black Pig Liberation Front, Casey Cyr, Rich Martin, Jeremy Podgursky & The Pennies, Blowup in Japanese, RB Morris & Hector Qirko, Scaramongo, Sarah Elizabeth, SOUTHSIDE, The Honey Highway, EYE of THE FUKING STORM, & numerous others. Ron’s groups have included Voices Without Restraint, Ron Whitehead’s Apocalypse Jam, The Viking Hillbilly Apocalypse Revue, outlaw music/spoken word band SOUTHSIDE, and THE STORM GENERATION. Ron performs with the energy of ten bands. He continues to collaborate with musicians and artists in all genres round the world.
Ron was recently nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature by New York City professor, James Joyce scholar, music critic, and author of many books, Dr. John Rocco:
To The Nobel Prize Committee, I am writing you about one of America’s greatest poets. His name is Ron Whitehead and for his entire career he has written volatile and important verse that has given a new presence to American poetry. Whitehead’s work is in the tradition of the Beat Generation but also deeply influenced by rock and roll, the legacy of the European avant-garde from Knut Hamsun to James Joyce, and his own native Kentucky. He is at the same time a regional and universal writer; Kentucky is his home but the world is his subject. Whitehead’s poetry is a powerful summation of the American spirit.
I would like to take this time to bring this extraordinary poet to your attention for consideration for the Nobel Prize in literature. Whitehead’s poetry is exuberant and shocking, delicate and blunt, combative and sensitive. There is a vital spirituality in his work that questions the nature of artistic creativity at the same time it embodies it. His work is profoundly engaged in critiquing the control modern American culture has over the individual and the planet. The Beaver Dam Rocking Chair Marathon is a summation of his aesthetics: part Bildungsroman, part rock protest, all Whitehead white hot poetic energy.
As the profile in this package indicates, Whitehead is a tireless promoter of poetry and its power to heal the world. To recognize his work is to recognize the power of the word to resist imperialism, intolerance, and hate. Whitehead has made American poetry a vehicle for social change and a power to transform the world… Thank you for considering this important American writer.
Dr. John Rocco
Associate Professor of Humanities
SUNY (State University of New York Maritime)
James Joyce scholar John Rocco is the author of The Nirvana Companion, The Beastie Boys Companion, The Doors Companion, The Grateful Dead Companion, and other Schirmer Books. He is completing a volume on James Joyce. His novel Fur was released in 2005. He is a critic for American Book Review and numerous other literary and music publications.
Thousands of Ron’s works have been published round the world in a diverse range of publications (all mediums) from TRIQUARTERLY (Northwestern University/Illinois) to ARTFORUM (Czech Republic) to BLUE BEAT JACKET (Japan) to BEAT SCENE (England) to SOUTHERN REVIEW (Louisiana) to TRIBE magazine (NYC). Ron’s work has been translated into 15 languages.
Ron has presented over 6,000 readings of his own creative work round the world.
Ron’s work is in museum, library, and private collections around the world. The University of Louisville Rare Books & Archives, Directed by Delinda Buie, is the permanent repository for Ron’s work (past, present, future). Six exhibits have been held. A major exhibition, with catalog, is being planned. Several thousand, of tens of thousands, of items have already been catalogued. For a time Ron was Velocity’s (Kentucy’s Courier-Journal) Advice Columnist. He has written for and been featured in a multitude of publications around the world. In February 2009 Ron was a featured poet at the International Poetry Festival in Granada, Nicaragua. 130 poets from 50 countries, all 7 continents, participated. In the past 2 years Ron has Toured in Estonia, Brazil, and Iceland plus other countries and cities round the world.
After his Father’s June 2009 death (plus the deaths of 15 friends within 90 days of his Dad’s death) Ron entered a state of semi-seclusion to recover from the grief and to focus on three new books. After being away from Louisville, turning down well over a thousand performance requests, he has resurrected himself yet again and the phoenix promises to rise higher than ever. He’s back to presenting readings talks performances round the world plus doing ever more film work.
Foxfire Magik and Thy Faery Pranksters on board as new