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Endangered languages poetry anthology to be published this year

We’re pleased to announce that “Poems from the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages” will be published in hardback and e-book on 5 September 2019.

The anthology of 50 poems will be published by John Murray Press and has been edited by Chris McCabe, national poetry librarian at Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library.

Chris also launched the Endangered Poetry Project in 2017 to collect poetry written in endangered languages. Through poems submitted by the public, the library will build a collection of works, providing a resource for those interested in reading poems in endangered languages.

Mandana Seyfeddinipur, director of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) and SOAS World Languages Institute, has provided an introduction for the book, along with Dr Martin Orwin, SOAS senior lecturer in Somali and Amharic and member of the Centre for Translation Studies.

The publication of the anthology coincides with the UN’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL). IYIL aims to raise awareness of indigenous languages, promote and ensure access to indigenous languages, and bring global attention to the risks for indigenous languages.

Chris McCabe said, “This book has grown from a simple idea I had in my role as National Poetry Librarian: to collect poems spoken or written in endangered languages throughout the world, which would help to document our understanding of how poetry exists globally. Following the launch of the Endangered Poetry Project at Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library, the conversations and encounters I’ve had with poets and translators from all over the world has continued, and I’m delighted to be working with John Murray to showcase the most interesting of this work in Poems from the Edge of Extinction. I hope readers of the book will be as moved as I am by the urgency, invention and sheer range of poetry as it exists on every continent.”

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