TALK, HATE-MAIL and TURBULENT TIMES, TOURING AMERICAN POETS HIT THE ROAD
Life During Wartime: Poetry Amidst a World in
American poets RON WHITEHEAD and FRANK MESSINA
will embark on an artistic invasion of four European cities including Reykjavik, Edinburgh, Durham and Newcastle on a 2-week poetry tour that promises to ruffle even
the stiffest of European feathers.
For almost 10 years, Messina and
Whitehead have stood poles apart on political issues yet side by side in the mutual quest
to deliver poetry to the world. At first glance, the lanky, bushy bearded Ron Whitehead
and the brawny, city slicker Frank Messina appear as a mismatched duo from a David Lynch
movie. Messina is the son of a Bronx-born
Sicilian. Whitehead is the son of a Kentucky coal miner. As Whitehead brilliantly pens poetry
about lifes struggles of the disparate south and bids triumphantly for world peace,
Messina writes volatile poems ranging in content from dingy jazz haunts to his spirited
yet heartwrenching 9/11 works, whose political sentiments have echoed both acclaim and
criticism around the globe.
Both poets have fans and foes alike.
Whiteheads poems hang in the office of the Dalai Lama, are published on anti-war
websites and appear on the lyric sheets of anti-establishment rock albums. Messinas
poems appear on the walls of the New York City Fire Department, have been recited at 9/11
tributes and have been engraved on the turrets of tanks in the deserts of Afghanistan.
Both writers get their share of hate mail attacking Whitehead as an anti-American pacifist
and Messina as a blind sighted patriot, traumatized by his
hands-on volunteer efforts at a ground zero triage. But, the works of both poets
explicitly celebrate the human condition for all its joy and sorrow and successfully tug
hard on the heartstrings of an injured populace, whether caused by terror attack, poverty
or social injustice.
Together, the two have clocked over a
quarter-million travel miles, spanning a dozen countries in the name of poetry. Now, in a
world consumed by imminent war, the two deliver their works to an increasingly
Anti-American audience in an attempt to give uncensored and candid views directly into the
heart of post-9/11 America. The tour schedule is as follows:
March 6, 7, 8 Reykjavik, Iceland: The tour
kicks off in Reykjavik, Iceland at the NewArt
Museum at .
Also appearing will be the Viking HillBilly Apocalypse Revue, Sarah Elizabeth, L.B.H.
Krew, legendary Megas, Bragi ”lafsson, Pollock Brothers and Thordeez, and Inspector
March 11, Durham, England: after a BBC
radio interview, a performance at The Fish Tank, North Road, Center City,
March 12, Newcastle, England: Culture
Cafe, Newcastle Central Public Library, 12:30PM, book signing, readings with Frank
Messina, Ron Whitehead and British poet Keith Armstrong.
March 13, Newcastle, England: Cumberland Arms, BykerBuildings, Byker, .
Also appearing will be the New Safe Sextet, British poets Keith Armstrong, Michael
Standen, Ian Horn and John Earl.
March 15, Edinburgh, Scotland: Cabaret Voltaire, 36-38 Blair St. via Royal Mile. 7PM Filmmaker Jack Shea hosts a
multi-media event celebrating the life and works of Jack Kerouac. Featuring the works of
Kerouac, Messina, Ron Whitehead and Angus Calder. Multi-media,
films, poetic and musical explorations.
RON WHITEHEAD is a Poet, Writer, Editor,
Publisher, Organizer, Scholar, and Teacher. His numerous books and CDs include Beaver Dam Rocking Chair Marathon (book), I Will Not Bow Down: Selected Poems 1990-1995 (book),
The Declaration of Independence This Time:
Selected Poems 1996-2000 (book), Tapping My Own
Phone (CD), I Will Not Bow Down (CD). Ron
and Iceland co-conspirator Michael Pollock put together The
Viking Hillbilly Apocalypse Revue which includes some of Icelands
and Kentuckys leading musicians and poets. Ron has edited
over 600 titles, published over 250, produced over 800 events, and given over 3,000
readings. Hunter S. Thompson has written I have long admired Ron Whitehead. He is
crazy as nine loons, and his poetry is a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure
mathematics. Lawrence Ferlinghetti has written Ron Whitehead, out
there in Kentucky, out there where the tall heroes used to grow, is
sowing the dragons teeth of new heroics. For more information on Ron
FRANK MESSINA is a veteran New York
spoken word artist, poet and performer. Nominated for the 2003 Allen Ginsberg Book Award,
his recently published book, Disorderly Conduct has been hailed a very
important work...deep in the American present by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Alan
Dugan. Hes a recipient of the Woolrich Poetry Fellowship of ColumbiaUniversity and the 1993 Allen Ginberg Poetry Award. Tackling
issues of racial solidarity, human rights and spiritual redemption through music and
verse, his works have been widely published in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Ground Zero:
New Yorkers Respond, The 9/11 Peace Poetry Project, Playboy Magazine, Paterson
Literary Review and Published in Heaven poster series. Hes recited his highly
musical poems in ten different countries and appeared on stage at MadisonSquareGarden, the
LollaPalooza Rock Concerts, Woodstock 94, Crossing Border Festival, London
International Poetry and Song Festival and various European venues. Frank has collaborated
with David Amram, members of Phish, Sun Ra Arkestra, Max Creek, Sonic Youth and the
Grateful Dead. Frank often performs with his Spoke n Roll band, Spoken Motion, a sextet whose works are deeply
rooted in jazz and experimental rock music. The official website is http://www.spokeface.com
Old time mountain singer Sarah Elizabeth, and
percussionist/didgeridoo artist Inspector 99 will accompany Ron Whitehead on the entire