John Sherman (Nigeria 1966–67, Malawi 1967–68) has just released his latest spoken-word CD, Home: Stories of a Childhood Told in Poems. The 32-poem CD was made possible, in part, by an Individual Artist Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission.
One of the poems, “Barefoot Meetings,” was written when John was in a meeting at Peace Corps headquarters and while serving as Africa Coordinator. Other poems were written while he was on the staff at PC/HQ in Washington, D.C., including “Flying Home from Kabul.” That poem was written on the plane over Canada, returning from a Peace Corps conference in Kabul.
John has received several grants and awards for his writings, including four Individual Artist Program grants, the New Mexico Governor’s Award of Honor for Historic Preservation for the book, Santa Fe: A Pictorial History (Donning, 1983, 2nd edition 1996), and the manuscript for Marjorie Main: Rural Documentary Poetry (Mesa Verde Press, 1999). That earned him a Finalist position in the Walt Whitman Award competition of the Academy of American Poets. Poems from that book are on this CD.
He also received a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis which resulted in his writing the libretto for the opera, Biafra, based in part on his book, War Stories: A Memoir of Nigeria and Biafra. The book contains stories of his Red Cross and Peace Corps experiences in Nigeria/Biafra. Sherman will be lecturing about those experiences and his book and opera next May in Nigeria.
The CD Home ($15) can be ordered by going to mesaverdepress.com and clicking on the “art” button. Also on the website, you can also view the 20 minutes scored and performed so far of Biafra, the opera.