Excerpts from interview with Kentucky Poet Ron Whitehead from 2019 in Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Digest Issue 1

(c) Ron Whitehead, Jinn Bug
About Ron Whitehead: Kentucky Legend & Poet First:

It is hard living the life of just one poet at times.
Always a rush of creativity and ideas to try and stay stabilized,
is not always the easiest task.
So, what would you do if you have lived the life of 1,000 poets?
Ask Ron Whitehead
A Kentucky born, and current Beat Poet Laureate of Kentucky for the years of 2019-2021.
*note* as I was putting together the first edition of the Fevers of the Mind Anthology Mr. Whitehead was the first ever Writer from the United States to represent as a writer-in-residence in Tartu, Estonia as part of an International Literature residency program.

Ron has been a poet, a professor at several universities, has held lectures, workshops, has founded a music & poetry marathon called "The Insomniacathon" which is perfect for all sleep deprived poetry-eaters.   For endless inspiration, just attend an Insomniacathon, and walk into a new world where words are the images, and the world outside becomes silent.
Ron has produced the official Hunter S. Thompson tribute.
Ron knew Hunter S. Thompson & has many stories about hanging out with him and other poets from the Beat Generation and beyond.

Ron Whitehead is not just a poet, he is a lead man of "The Storm Generation Band" a band with him chanting out his poetry & lyrics.
You can see him at big festivals, or you might see him at a small bar or coffeehouse in a small Mid-Western city like Evansville, Indiana.
That is where I met and listened to Ron's poetry.  He appeared humble, generous, kind, helpful and poetry driven in messages to inspire for a better world.

his website is www.tappingmyownphone.com

Excerpts from an Interview with Ron Whitehead (2019):

Q: Hi Ron, Thanks for granting me this interview for Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Digest. First off, I without all the merits that you have see many parallels in our poetry upbringing.   
I grew up in a town (not a farm however) in Western Kentucky in Webster County.  My father & grandfather grew up on the farms of Kentucky, and I'd always hear the stories.   I lived a small amount of time in the city of New Orleans in my early twenties.   Maybe, this is where most of the parallels end.  You have lived most of your life in Kentucky, so what about Kentucky do you love?

Ron: Hello David. I come from a long line of farmers, coal miners, and strong women. I grew up on a beautiful old ramshackle Kentucky farm. A wild nature boy, when I finished my chores, I roamed the dirt roads, the rolling hills, and the woods.  I love Kentucky. It's in my DNA. I've lived and traveled all over the world and wherever I go I preach the Kentucky Gospel.  There's no place on earth like Kentucky.  Kentucky is the land of freedom fighters and original independent creative artists! It is my land, the land I love.

Q: What influences do you attribute most from having lived in Kentucky?  When traveling to other states & countries do you ever run into people that put a stigma on Kentucky, and make unnecessary assumptions about the state?

Ron: When I arrived at the University of Oxford, for studies at the International Graduate School, and knocked the Head of English Literature Valentine Cunningham's door we shook hands, exchanged names, he looked down at my feet, looked back up and said "I didn't know people from Kentucky wore shoes." I stared deep into his eyes and laughing I said "Haha, A smartass. We'll get along great." And we did.  ......

Q:  After many awards, honors, years of teaching, writing, What would you consider to be the most rewarding?

Ron: All of it. I love and embrace in all of its terrible beauty. 

Q: You have edited works of many poets. Whom in particular did you say WOW to, when you were asked to edit their works?

Ron: I never imagined I would edit and publish so many of the world's leading poets, writers, musicians, cultural figures. Lordy, the list is too long to mention here. I edited William S. Burroughs' Remembering Jack Kerouac from prose to poem form and published it.  He gave me permission to publish the prose piece, but we hadn't discussed transforming it into a poem, which I did so I could include it in my Published in Heaven Poster series.  Burroughs asked me to get a photo from Allen Ginsberg, which I did. When I shipped Burroughs his copies on the poster I was sweating, worried he'd be pissed, maybe even ask me to recall the posters. He loved them. Whew. Major relief!

Q: What is a classic story you could tell, in which you had a long night hanging with Hunter S. Thompson, Gregory Corso, or Allen Ginsberg?

Ron: Oh God! Too many stories, about all three of them. One night, after driving 24 hours non-stop from Kentucky to Owl Farm, Woody Creek, outside Aspen, Colorado, I'm standing in the kitchen with Hunter S. Thompson. He's signing Published in Heaven Posters of He Was a Crook, his Nixon obituary. I told him I was driving straight on, after my visit with him, to San Francisco to have dinner the next night with my friend Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Hunter became reflective and started talking about Ferlinghetti and how much he liked and respected him.  He said "I'll write a message on one of the posters for Lawrence and you give it to him tomorrow, Okay?" I said "Okay." Hunter was a deeply reflective person. Despite his sometimes fierceness, he had the soul of a poet. 

Q: How long have you been doing Insomniacathons & also can you tell the readers about Gonzofest in Louisville during the Summer. ...

Ron: Kent Fielding and I produced the first ever 24-hour non-stop music & poetry Insomniacathon in 1993 at Twice Told Coffeehouse on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky. I produced many after that, with Kent, Doug Brinkley, Andy Cook, and others. ....  
Gonzofest is a celebration of life and work of Louisville native son Hunter S. Thompson. On December 12, 1996 I produced the Official Hunter S. Thompson tribute, at Memorial Auditorium in Louisville.  I brought in Hunter, his mother Virginia, his son Juan, Johnny Depp, Warren Zevon, Douglas Brinkley, David Amram, Roxanne Pulitzer, and a host of others.  It was an amazing 4-hour event.  The Insomniacathons and Gonzofests are filled with creative energies and expressions. Being part of them always inspires me to create new work.  And, from what folks have shared with me, the creative spirit is contagious.

Q: How do you find time to do all that you do and have done & still be generous enough to answer questions for a small publication like this?

Ron: I was born with a high metabolism. I love collaborating with folks all over the world. Boredom is my greatest enemy. Having several creative projects going on simultaneously helps me stay healthy. New creative work inspires new creative work.  Mama and Daddy taught me not to look up to or down to anyone. We're al in this together, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder.
When one of us is lifted up we are all lifted up.

Thanks Ron, 
for taking time out of your very busy schedule and answering my interview questions....

Ron: Thank you David!  See you at Gonzofest!!

Ron Whitehead bio & links:




links to his books on Amazon:


Poetry/Writing from Attracta Fahy : “Book of Longing” from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

artwork by Geoffrey Wren
Book of Longing 

Even before I began to write poetry
I spoke to blue, sat in my garden
reading his 'Book of Longing, '
'This Isn't China' 'Now In my Room'
spoke to blue white sky of Forget-me-Not,
'How Could I Have Doubted'
recited his words to birds, bluetit, chaffinch,
'You'd Sing Too'
early spring, chill in the air, a sea of bluebells
sway in wood left of my house, delicate
petals tended with care wished for myself,
still do,
'If I Could Help You'
wild blue geranium wave in breeze,
sun breaking through cloud,
shimmering shades of cobalt,
'A Thousand Kisses Deep'
light penetrates blue mop head
azure aubrietia, my garden alive in
'Dance me to the end of Love'
whisper to ethereal ears, if I could be
anything in this moment, other than you
my beautiful blue
I would be his poem, one of his songs,
and he would sing me.

Bio from Avalanches in Poetry (2019)
Attracta Fahy's background is Nursing/Social Care. She works as a Psychotherapist, lives in Co. Galway, and has three children.  She completed her MA in Writing NUIG in 2017, and participates in Over the Edge poetry workshops. Her poems have been published in Banshee, Poetry Ireland Review, Poethead, Orbis, Impspired, Honest Ulsterman, The Cormorant, and several other magazines and journals at home and abroad.  She has been included in the Blue Nib Anthology, shortlisted for 2018 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, and a Blue Nib nominee for Pushcart. 


2 poems by Ivan Peledov : “Aside from the Flowers” & “Before and After”

Aside from the Flowers

Babylon-sized spirits of silent birds, winds, and clouds
cover every stone and blade of grass you can see.
They banish all meaning from the valleys and canyons,
they look for hidden eternities of dead tree branches,
for dancing trunks in the wooden afterlife on the hills,
and discarded life forms stuck in the brittle twigs.
How often do you expect to walk this dusty path,
hearing the posthumous music of renegade souls
and greetings of the neighbors under the ever gentle sun?

Before and After

We talk about snowflakes and death 
in the cold, bottomless rooms of itinerant prairie dogs.
Some doors and windows are really butterflies in disguise.
You can’t open them without killing the little things.
They help to keep the emptiness and the dust intact.
Wasted centuries and bogus UFOs distort their wings,
but look at the birds of the sun and their feeders -
brimming with wine.  

Bio: Ivan Peledov lives in Colorado. His poems have been recently published in SORTES, Mad Swirl, Arc Magazine, and Angel Rust. He is the author of the book Habits of Totems (Impspired, 2021). He can be found online on Twitter @habitsoftotems or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivan.peledov.

Poetry by Ivan Peledov: Places They Don’t Mind

5 poems by Z.D. Dicks “Light Drizzle” “Mirror” “Mourning” “Survival Strategy” “Owl Learns Magic”

Owl, Moon, Night, Branch, Tree
Light Drizzle

In Turkey/ a sheep stepped to air
off a cliff/ flew with one bleat 
the first drop of wool/ sixty 
thousand hooves followed to the lip/
loose clods of grass crumbled/ where 
one nibbling drip slipped

The first four hundred fluff balls
fell/ in plumes of splintered 
marrow/ staining gritted rock/
with bone mud/ and loosened 
tongue flop/ leaking wet innards 
of pink/ cracking as a spatter of dusk 

The storm that followed/ from 
ridge throat/ tumbled to earth
as thunder pillows/ thudding 
wheezes/ from dead fleece puddles
before rolling to scrapes/ as split feet 
bellowed to sky/ a clattering rain 

A fog had descended that evening/
when one fence peeled away/ its
barbs from post/ the dying heat warping 
wire/ four hundred dead and the rest 
cushioned/ but closer to home/ I look 
at flaking rust boundaries/ 
and wonder when they will break


The tap ran into the bath
and in a weird twist of current 
the water bulbed out and back in
to form a liquid champagne glass

I felt the rumble on my toe
tickling with indeterminate blast 
of hot-cold numbing skin     before
sploshing it back at sight of steam

Berry bubbles popped coastal
vineyards into the mist, but 
more emerged and flew 
kissing softly as butterflies 

Hip deep in imagined mid summer
I led back into the Mediterranean 
before the spell was broken 
and small hands tested a catch

Hopping frogs ready to burst 
I hunkered propping onto elbows 
cleared froth     and took one last look
marked the years of pretend toil 
and the final exhale of a vintner


This is the last day/ I will see her 
I feel her leave/ on a lily pollen breeze
herring gulls yelping/ the houses 
innards gurgle/ as copper pipes wake

The kitchen is warm and empty
spiders silently scuttle/ hide and sleep 
my lips dry/ throat out of practice/
unable to call for my mistress

A family clambers/ laughs around a table
smiles shout/ through the lounge 
all the windows are opened/ but/
no butterflies pulse in/ only flies

They circle/ around the/ cooling/ unlit bulb 
that hangs/ as a glass corpse 
the last of its/ night/ heat dissipates 
just as my creativity/ festers in dust
as my muse abandoned me

Survival Strategy
 (Owl studied success)

He didn’t know what it was 
but trees rained spiders 
sideways glances thrown 
as skimmed pebbles 

The venom bags hung
separate on spaced string
suspended in nothingness
a limbo of arms loaded

All predators, pendulums 
in unison, pulsing in air
not tangled by touch
spinning under own weight

Until a bat swung, plucked 
the lowest hanging berries 
that had no time to climb up 
the rest left, toiling, fed

Owl Learns Magic

Three women grinned through fire 
at the core of ember, a bird head
pressing into tough tracks 
Owl approached, a forge of beak

He kicked a mumble at the Past
where she stood growing 
a spell cast, warmer by the second
he drank all of her to memory

Ravenous, he salted Present
as he feigned all and no hunger 
looking into unconscious eyes 
pathways deep into emptiness 

Until, unsatisfied/fulfilled 
he looked through smoke
to Future, her face a flickered blur 
of strung white noise/black silence
knowing/ignorant of what to do 

Bio: Z. D. Dicks holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. He often works with other poets locally and nationally to create events and to work on poetry projects. In 2016 he founded the Gloucestershire Poetry Society and the Gloucester Poetry Festival.  He has had his work accepted by many publications including Ink, Sweat and Tears, Sarasvati, Obsessed with Pipework, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Words from the Wild, Outlaw Poetry, Fresh Air Poetry, I am not a silent poet, As it Ought to Be, Nymphs, and Stride (plus many more and anthologies). He currently has three collections ‘Malcontent’ and ‘Intimate Nature’ with Black Eyes publishing (2019) and ‘Vexed’ with Hedgehog Poetry Press (2020).  Dicks has a keen interest in imagistic poetry and his work has been described ‘muscular language’ by Helen Ivory and has himself been described as ‘a gothic Seamus Heaney’ by Anna Saunders.  In 2019 he was appointed Gloucestershire Poet Laureate and works in various settings to promote poetry.’

3 poems by Maxine Rose Munro : “This, my most honest of poems”, “Babel”, & “On a hillside,”

This, my most honest of poems

I wish I was like you, not
as simile but as metaphor
– as an 'I am' type thing. 

Not because of your tall
which juts above my short
when I am juxtaposed with you.

I will not compare and contrast
our hair, noses, mouths, your hands
that enclose mine.

I'm satisfied with my physical body:
all that's lumpy, scraggy, wobbly,
and, yes, even my strange, way too-long toes.

But I envy you your emotions,
the way your head and heart hear
what each has to say.

Never does one drown out the other,
or sulk in silence. You always say
only what you mean.

And you mean everything
with the words you use.
You are perfectly composed.

Like I made this poem to be,
like I myself want to be
but never am.


I watch them skim, lizards
almost the colour of my mother's panstik,
twitch-jerk among crumbled dirt

also shaded lizard. The lizards look
and move unlike anything I've seen. Fast,
faster than the eye can measure,

but still it seems in my grasp
to speak with them, as if we could
commune as one,

shared ancestry loosening our tongues,
letting us laugh together, swop tales
of differing views of a same world.

Later, my toddler daughter will stumble
into a shelf of milk, a bottle will fall,
tumble to shop floor spilling out everything,

and I will be unable
to make myself understood
to the French shopkeeper.

On a hillside,

bed-time approaching, a child sits
in a garden deep inside of memory,
loans me her ears. I hear

sea waves that come
                                               and go,

a bumble bee I know is tied to there
and then, but its toilsome droning
could be any other bee
                                                   just to listen to it,

and echoes, there are echoes

for every sound

             there's another
                                 just behind it/slightly
                                      overlapping it,

boys in dinghies ahoy to each other
                                   hear themselves answer
before they're prepared

a heart beats twice          breath goes in
                                                                  and out

a gull's cry sounds so close           just over there

there, it stretches back out to its own echo,

nothing ever ends,

the tide turns again, echoes
are calling me home.

Bio: Maxine Rose Munro is a Shetlander adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. She writes in both English and her native Shetlandic Scots, and is widely published in the UK and beyond, both
in print and online, including in Acumen; Ink, Sweat and Tears; and Southlight. Find her here

2 poems by Maxine Rose Munro in Fevers of the Mind Poets of 2020