Thursday, May 1st, 2008...11:03 pm

ron whitehead | i refuse

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Ron Whitehead is poet, writer, editor, publisher, organizer, scholar, professor. The son of Edwin and Greta Whitehead, he grew up on a farm outside of Centertown, population 323, in Ohio County, western Kentucky. He graduated from Ohio County High School in 1968. He attended Georgetown College, Western Kentucky University, The University of Louisville, and Oxford University (England). As undergraduate and graduate student he was the recipient of numerous scholarships, grants, fellowships, awards, and prizes including The Dean’s Graduate School Citation at UofL, The English Speaking Union’s Oxford Scholar Award, the Joshua B. Everett Oxford Scholar Award, and many others. At Oxford he studied with Dr. Valentine Cunningham, Head of English Literature, at Oxford’s International Graduate School. As poet and writer he is the recipient of numerous state, national, and international awards/prizes including The All Kentucky Poetry Prize and The Yeats Club of Oxford’s Prize for Poetry. In 2004 he was inducted into Ohio County High School’s Hall of Fame. He was nominated, twice, for The Pulitzer Prize. In 2006 Dr. John Rocco (NYC) nominated Ron for The Nobel Prize in Literature.

Ron has taught college for 17 years at The University of Louisville, Spalding University, Jefferson Community College, St. Catharine 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), University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky), University of New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana), and many more. He has presented papers and chaired sessions at over 60 national and international Literature, Culture, and Arts Conferences including the Thirteenth Annual James Joyce Symposium at University College and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and the Eighty-Second Annual Scandinavian Culture Conference at Hofstra University on Long Island in New York.

In 1992 Ron founded The Global Literary Renaissance, a non-profit organization, supporting the global literary community. He was Director of the Global Literary Renaissance for 14 years. Ron has produced nearly 2,000 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), The New York City Underground Music & Poetry Festival (with Casey Cyr & others), The Netherland’s 10-day International Meer Dan Woorden Festival (with Jan Pankow & others), LIVE at THE RUD Benefit Concert (with Jim James and Sarah Elizabeth), plus many many more. After he produces INSOMNIACATHON 2008 (April 2008) he is retiring from producing events.

Photo by Jeremy Hogan

Ron has edited over 1,000 titles and published over 700 titles including work by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, Seamus Heaney, Jack Kerouac, Diane di Prima, Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, BONO, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Amiri Baraka, Rita Dove, David Amram, 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, Frank Messina, Steve Dalachinsky, Jean Genet, Jan Kerouac, Christopher Felver, Brother Patrick Hart, Robert Lax, Sarah Elizabeth, and many many others. Ron recently retired from editing and publishing.

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. More on Ron Whitehead on his web page here…

For the past 18 years Ron has been GOing non-stop. He is the author of 19 books and he has work on 25 CDs.


His BOOK titles include:

  • WESTERN KENTUCKY: Lost & Forgotten, Found & Remembered (with Sarah Elizabeth)
  • THE THIRD TESTAMENT: Three Gospels of Peace (all 3 previously published Hozomeen Press books revised/edited in one volume with art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti & David Minton)
  • BEAVER DAM ROCKING CHAIR MARATHON (books 1 & 2 new revised 3rd edition)
  • EVE & THE OPHIDIANS
  • EXTERMINATE NOISE (with Charlie Newman)
  • GROUND ZERO
  • NOT-KNOWING (with Libby Ackerman)
  • LOVE and DEATH (with David Minton)
  • QUEST FOR SELF IN THE OCEAN OF CONSCIOUSNESS: IBSEN, HAMSUN, MUNCH, JOYCE: THE ORIGINS OF MODERNISM & EXPRESSIONISM
  • THE WANDERER

Photo by Jen Burks

His CD titles include:

  • TAPPING MY OWN PHONE
  • KENTUCKY ROOTS
  • KENTUCKY: poems, stories, songs (with Sarah Elizabeth)
  • KENTUCKY BLUES (with David Amram, www.davidamram.com)
  • I WILL NOT BOW DOWN (with Icelander Michael Pollock)
  • EXTERMINATE NOISE (with Charlie Newman)
  • NOT MUTE
  • FROM ICELAND TO KENTUCKY & BEYOND
  • OFF THE CUFF
  • SWAN BOATS @ FOUR (with Paul K)
  • THE SHAPE OF WATER (with James Walck)
  • THE VIKING HILLBILLY APOCALYPSE REVUE
  • 3 SHOTS of THE VIKING HILLBILLY APOCALYPSE REVUE
  • CLOSING TIME
  • WALKING HOME (with Frank Messina, www.spokeface.com )
  • I REFUSE
  • SOUTHSIDE LOUNGE (with his new band SOUTHSIDE)

i refuse by ron whitehead

part 1:

i refuse

i refuse to wear a seatbelt
i refuse to take a breathalyzer
i refuse to take a mandatory drug test
i refuse to take a mandatory polygraph
i refuse to take a mandatory anything

i refuse

i refuse to cut my hair
i refuse to shave my beard
i refuse to wear underwear
i refuse to go to the derby

i refuse

i refuse background credit checks in order to get a job
i refuse background medical checks in order to get a job
i refuse medical exams in order to get a job

i refuse

i refuse to bow down to any government
i refuse to bow down to any religion
i refuse to bow down to any corporation
i refuse to bow down to any military
i refuse to bow down to any secret court

i refuse to bow down to any dogma

i refuse

i refuse to accept or adhere to meaningless laws
i refuse to fight wars for despots for tyrants for powermongers
i refuse to fight wars

i refuse

i refuse to hurt anyone

i refuse

i refuse to stop drinking red wine
i refuse to stop smoking marijuana
i refuse to stop taking mescaline and peyote

i refuse

i refuse to stop living my non-violent warrior life on my own terms
i refuse to bow down to anyone or anything

i refuse
i refuse
i refuse

i refuse to kiss anybody’s ass except Sarah’s
i refuse to kiss ass
i refuse to do anything big brother asks me to do
i refuse big brother

i refuse

i refuse to be spanked by anyone but Sarah

i refuse

i refuse to wear pink tights or panties or any other women’s clothes
cept maybe a woman’s cowboy hat every now and then
but you go ahead and wear whatever you want to wear
i refuse to tell anyone what to do
unless they’re hurting someone
then i’ll do all i can to stop them
i refuse to be a disciplinarian or an authoritarian

i refuse

i refuse to be a member of the status quo
i refuse to live in the suburbs
i refuse to sleep too much
i refuse to be a zombie
i refuse to submit to anyone or anything

i refuse

i refuse to go to church
i refuse to have anything to do with a church or an undertaker
i refuse to believe anything you ask or tell me to believe
i refuse to tell a lie
i refuse to allow you to bring me down

i refuse marriage
i refuse divorce
i refuse

i refuse
i refuse
i refuse

i refuse to hurt anyone or anything
i refuse to hurt Mother Earth
i refuse to hurt my family friends allies guides angels
i refuse to hurt my enemies

i refuse

i refuse to be angry
i refuse to hate
i refuse to follow any path but the path of love

i refuse

i refuse
i refuse
i refuse

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