Andrew Oerke and his Poetry

Andrew Oerke directed microfinance and microenterprise projects beginning in 1966 in Kakamega, Kenya with David Skull with local women’s groups in 1966 onward as the process and methodology of having a microenterprise business plan, peer pressure and return of interest and capital before a neighbour’s loan could be let proceeded in finally 60 nations of Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, and Asia and the middle east. The impact of this methodology in many microenterprise/microfinance groups is still felt today, where a series of Oerke’s trained captains of microenterprise are highly active, such as Shari Berenbacher, John Schiller, and James Hocschender. Andrew Oerke was trained in literature and held University positions until he went to the Peace Corps to in his words “ live the poetry” . He wrote poetry from 1987 onward daily creating 14 books of poetry and 3 non-fiction to be added to the 4 books published before 1978 plus song cycles, operas and lyrics. He continually published from 1987 onward creating a legacy of hundreds of poems in poetry journals. Chief among his works are African Stiltdancer and San Miguel de Allende, which won the United Nations Soceity of Writer and Artists prize for literature and The Peace Corps writer’s Prize in 2007 for Poetry, as well as Songs of the southwest with Gideon Waldrup, composer, and “Never Seek to Tell they Love”. The William Meredith East-West group of outreach commenced while Meredith was Poet Laureate ( then termed “consultant to the Library of congress”) during the cold war poets translations from Eastern European Languages to English and English to East European Languages was made into a tour of Bulgaria during Bulgaria Poetry week in 2012 wherein Oerke read to many Bulgarian groups his Songs of Africa translated into Bulgarian by Valentin Khrusev.

Major Awards:

1.) Lifetime Achievement Award: USA Club of Rome. For microfinance, and humanitarian work in crises in Ethiopia, Haiti, and many other areas, and prize winning poetry leading to the betterment of mankind.

2.) United Nations Writers and Artists Society Award for Literature. “African Stiltdancer” and “San Miguel de Allende”

3.) Peace Corps Writer Prize in Poetry. 2007. “African Stiltdancer” and “San Miguel de Allende”.

4.) Peace Crops Writers Prize, “Songs of Africa” in Bulgarian and English.

5.) 2015 William Meredith Award for Poetry (Posthumous).

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