To The Nobel Prize Committee,
I am writing you about one of America's greatest poets. His name is Ron Whitehead and for his entire career he has written volatile and important verse that has given a new presence to American poetry. Whitehead's work is in the tradition of the Beat Generation but also deeply influenced by rock and roll, the legacy of the European avant-garde from Knut Hamsun to James Joyce, and his own native Kentucky. He is at the same time a regional and universal writer; Kentucky is his home but the world is his subject. Whitehead's poetry is a powerful summation of the American spirit.
I would like to take this time to bring this extraordinary poet to your attention for consideration for the Nobel Prize in literature. Whitehead's poetry is exuberant and shocking, delicate and blunt, combative and sensitive. There is a vital spirituality in his work that questions the nature of artistic creativity at the same time it embodies it. His work is profoundly engaged in critiquing the control modern American culture has over the individual and the planet. The Beaver Dam Rocking Chair Marathon is a summation of his aesthetics: part Bildungsroman, part rock protest, all Whitehead white hot poetic energy.
As the profile in this package indicates, Whitehead is a tireless promoter of poetry and its power to heal the world. To recognize his work is to recognize the power of the word to resist imperialism, intolerance, and hate. Whitehead has made American poetry a vehicle for social change and a power to transform the world...
Thank you for considering this important American writer.
Dr. John Rocco
Associate Professor of Humanities
SUNY (State University of New York Maritime)
James Joyce scholar John Rocco is the author of The Nirvana Companion, The Beastie Boys Companion, The Doors Companion, The Grateful Dead Companion, and other Schirmer Books.