This Library Strives To Revive Lost Languages Through Poetry

A lost art no longer

Jan 3, 2018
A woman strolls through rows of books at the UK's National Poetry Library.

As one of the main ways humans communicate with each other, the spoken word also helps us celebrate our culture and history.



The UK’s National Poetry Library (NPL) is making a huge effort to save endangered languages so that future generations will remember where they came from.

Although one of the world’s 7,000 languages is pushed into obscurity every two weeks, the NPL’s efforts may save the tongues with their new project.

Organizers are asking people from around the world to share their poems so future generations can appreciate and enjoy the poetic history.

The NPL is working towards collecting poems written in various languages from Irish Gaelic to Assyrian.

The library has also commissioned four poets to create poems in languages that are slowly disappearing, in the hopes of reviving them.

Nineb Lamassu in Iraq’s unofficial Assyrian language, Ugandan poet Nick Makoha in his native Luganda, and Joy Harjo will create a piece in Native American Mvskoke (Creek) Nation.

In addition to inspiring people to share their work and promote the art of poetry, the NPL is also succeeding in preserving a culture for generations to come.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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