Ron Whitehead (USA)

Photo: “Ron Whitehead in Ann Marvet’s Magic Garden, Karl Ristikivi Museum” by Jinn Bug

Ron Whitehead is an American poet, activist, and scholar who has published dozens of books and albums. Whitehead was born in 1947 in the state of Kentucky, studied at the University of Louisville, and has been active in both education and cultural management for decades. His work, which has been characterized by Hunter S. Thompson as a “a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure mathematics.” has been translated into more than 20 languages, and he has performed at many festivals in both the United States and Europe, including Estonia. In 2012, he performed at the “Zero Tolerance. Diverse Universe. Explosion” performance art festival, and in 2014, he appeared at the HeadRead literary festival. In 2019, Whitehead was a guest of the Tartu City of Literature residency program and organized a 24-hour cultural marathon called Insomniacathon in collaboration with Prima Vista. His poetry, co-written with his partner Jinn Bug, inspired by his residency, was published in 2020 as a bilingual book “Ööd muuseumis / Nights at the Museum,” translated into Estonian by Doris Kareva.

Whitehead’s poetic style can be characterized as a post-Beat generation movement, which has also been influenced by rock music, European avant-garde, and his home state of Kentucky. Whitehead was selected as the American Beat Poet Laureate for 2021-2022, and in 2022, the National Beat Poetry Foundation awarded him the title of lifelong New Generation Beat Poet Laureate. Regarding this year’s festival theme, he says: I have been making my impossible dreams come true for 40 years, and I will continue to do so until the day I die.”

Thursday, May 11th 18.30 at the Tartu Literature House cultural club Salong

Saturday, May 13th 18.40 at the Tartu Literary House Culture Club Salong