April 27, 2003 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Malawi RPCV Andrew Oerke receives Award of Excellence of the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists

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By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, April 28, 2003 - 1:37 pm: Edit Post

Malawi RPCV Andrew Oerke receives Award of Excellence of the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists

Read and comment on this story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Malawi RPCV Andrew Oerke who received the Award of Excellence of the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists for his poetry at:

Midwest Passages*

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Midwest Passages

Apr 27, 2003 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Author(s): Geeta Sharma-Jensen


Sunday, April 27, 2003

Wisconsin native Andrew Oerke was a poet in residence and associate professor of English at St. Andrew's Presbyterian College in North Carolina when he decided that "being a poet is a way of being and living, and that it had come time for me to join the Peace Corps and live my poetry."

He wanted, he says now, "to put my poetry into action to help people around the world."

He quit the university in 1967 to became a program officer for Tanzania and Uganda, and then a director in Malawi and Jamaica. He never returned to the university.

After he left the Peace Corps in 1972, he spent the rest of his career in the non-profit sector, working in 80 nations and ending up as a consultant to the World Bank and UNESCO and other development agencies.

But he never forgot his poetry. Whenever he found time, he wrote, publishing in The New Yorker, Epoch and The Paris Review among other magazines.

Now, at 70, his poetry has been recognized by an international group. Oerke recently received the Award of Excellence of the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists for his poetry, for making "a great contribution to the dialogue between civilizations."

Oerke is the first poet to receive the award. Earlier recipients include writers Norman Mailer, Erica Jong and Gloria Steinem, and sculptors Edwina Sandys and Peruko Ccopacatty.

Literary critic Harold Bloom, a friend who was asked to read Oerke's manuscript, called his poetry "original, vivid and eloquent." Bloom added he reread it "with great pleasure and enlightenment."

Oerke was born in La Crosse and graduated from South Division High School. His father, Rev. H.A. Oerke, was pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church on the city's south side for more than 20 years. His grandfather, Johannes Andreas Oerke, founded Lutheran churches in Chetek and Pigeon Falls.

Oerke lives in Florida, where he works on environmental issues when not writing poetry. His collection, "Symphony No. 1," was published recently by Mellen Poetry Press, Maine.

Milwaukee native Tiina Nunnally recently shared the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in England with Swedish writer Per Olov Enquist for her translation of his novel, "The Visit of the Royal Physician." The American edition is called "The Royal Physician's Visit" and is now out in paperback from Washington Square Press.

Nunnally has a master's degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

C.J. Hribal, who teaches English at Marquette University, has won a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in fiction for 2003. The highly competitive fellowships are awarded to help artists and scholars who have demonstrated "distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for the future." Hribal is the author of "The Clouds in Memphis: Short Stories and Novellas," and a novel, "Matty's Heart."

-- Geeta Sharma Jensen

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malawi; Poetry; Writers



By David Cranko on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 4:31 pm: Edit Post

To whom it may concern,
The UNDP is going to be having an Arts workshop in South Africa August 2003. I have been asked to find Painters,writer,poets etc, 5 various Artists from each SADC country countries,Angola,Mozambique,Zambia,Botswana,
Namibia,Zimbabwe,Lesotho,South Africa,Malawi,Swaziland,Mauritius,Tanzania.
If you know of any Artist living in these countries,please could you ask them to email me on
veni@mweb.co.sz before the 10th of July 2003
Thank you
David Cranko

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