Ron Whitehead (United States)
Ron Whitehead (b 1950) is an American poet, activist and scholar. Born in the State of Kentucy, he decided in his early life to exchange life at the farm for a more academic mode of living and went to look for knowledge at the Louisiana and Oxford Universities.
In spring 2019 Ron Whitehead stayed in Tartu as the writer-in-residence of Tartu UNESCO City of Literature residency program. During his stay Whitehead performed at several events and, ring Prima Vista, curated the first-ever 24-hour non-stop cultural programme Insomniacathon in Estonia.
His work, characterized by Hunter S. Thompson as „a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure mathematics“, has been translated into more than 20 languages and he has performed at numerous festivals in the United States and Europe, including Estonia: in 2012 Ron Whitehead participated at the travelling festival of the performance art Zero Tolerance Diverse Universe Explosion and in 2014 at the literary festival HeadRead. In his poetry book The Storm Generation a selection of texts translated into Estonian by Doris Kareva have been published and two of his poems in translation were published in the Estonian cultural paper Sirp in 2014. Whitehead’s manner can be characterized as an after-wave of the beat generation affected at the same time by rock music and the European avant garde, but also his home state Kentucky.
During his stay at the house of Karl Ristikivi Museum in Tartu, Whitehead together with Jinn Bug wrote a book Nights At The Museum. This collaborative collection of poems, inspired by his experience in Tartu, will be published in Estonian translation (translated by Estonian poet Doris Kareva) in autumn 2020 and will be presented during the November program of Prima Vista 2020. Ron Whitehead will be back in Tartu to present the book as well as to help organise, once again, the 24-hour cultural marathon Insomniacathon.