BWW Interviews: Fred Whitehead of 'Dog Ears Book Store & Cafe'
In the South towns of Buffalo, New York, rests a small independent non-profit book store ironically named "Dog Ears Book Store & Cafe". Down stairs the glossy wooden floors enhanced an already organized environment. A newly added café and a space upstairs for artistic events and classes makes for a spot that you couldn't help but feel comfortable in.
All the monies for these events are nonprofit and go toward education programs offered through the book store.
One of these events that help make this location such a stand out are the 4th Friday Poetry readings run by Poet Fred Whitehead.
Fred is somewhat of a Poetry guru to many in the community. He is well known for helping and assisting established and up and coming artist. A man who seldom says a negative word about anyone or their work. His flying by the seat of his pants attitude has dealt him and the series a hand of good luck. To his surprise the series audience has "grown steadily" since he had never hosted any event before.
Fred started off as an art student and then in the mid 80's to mid-90's he played bass and wrote lyrics for local bands such as "Synesthesia" and took that writing ability and turned it into a different kind of poetry.
His new Poetry was a more creative outlet that kept him out of the nightlife and bar band scene.
Today writing Poetry, putting out books and hosting duties are added to his already busy fifty-plus hour work week as manager of Bella Pizza. Fred doesn't seem to slow down or waver.
And what is a busy poet's writing process? He writes in his head and "scraps of paper" putting it all together later.
What inspires him? He has no idea other than "words ... sights ... smells".
He is pretty much open to any subject without being too controversial.
As a prolific writer he has earned the respect that he receives from fellow Poets and Writers.
In 2009 and 2010 he put out two chapbooks (one with illustrations by students of Joe Thiel's Class at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL.).
Since 2011 he's published three books of poetry with No Frills Publishing, completed two more projects with Ringling and, in 2012, started his own DESTITUTE PRESS which publishes free limited run micro books (mini chapbooks). He doesn't take submission and it's a one on one project between him and the writer.
In 2013 he did the illustrations for a children's book "Everyone Can Drum". The book was written by drummers Corey Kertzie (Big Leg Emma) and Vinnie Amico (moe.).
And it's now 2014. What's new?
"... putting together a book of the illustrated poems in PDF form"
And we can't forget he writes a blog (fewhitehed.wordpress.com). Just in case anyone thinks he isn't doing enough.
"ALL SAIL NO RUDDER" (published by No Frills) is the title of his current book of poetry.
Ironically it's also his approach to writing.
"I write when I write. All sail. No rudder."
A few places to check out: