According to Unesco, of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world, more than half are endangered, with one disappearing every two weeks. This collection of 50 poems celebrates and preserves these unique voices and takes the reader on a global journey of discovery.
Poems from the Edge of Extinction gathers together 50 poems in languages from around the world that have been identified as endangered, and offers a unique insight into the culture of these beautiful, vulnerable languages through the voices of their poets. With one of the world's 7,000 languages disappearing every two weeks, and with them their poetic traditions, this anthology, with accompanying English translations and commentaries, aims to celebrate voices which may otherwise fall silent. It includes poems by both new and established poets, such as award-winning Joy Harjo in Native American Mvskoke (Creek) Nation, Gearoid Mac Lochlainn in Irish Gaelic, Nineb Lamassu in Assyrian, and Hawad in Tamajaght.
This timely anthology is passionately edited by widely published poet and UK National Poetry Librarian, Chris McCabe, who is also the founder of the Endangered Poetry Project, a major project launched by London's Southbank Centre to collect poetry written in the world's disappearing languages, and introduced by Dr Mandana Seyfeddinipur, Director of the School of Oriental and Asian Studies World Languages Institute, and Dr Martin Orwin, Senior Lecturer in Somali and Amharic.
One endangered language is dying out every two weeks. Of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world, around half of these will die out by the end of the century. With the death of those languages will also be lost the unique poetic traditions of their speakers and writers.
Languages included in the book: Assyrian; Belarusian; Chimiini; Irish Gaelic; Maori; Navajo; Patua; Rotuman; Saami; Scottish Gaelic; Welsh; Yiddish; Zoque.
Poets included in the book: Joy Harjo; Hawad; Jackie Kay; Aurelia Lassaque; Nineb Lamassu; Gearoid Mac Lochlainn; Valzhyna Mort?; Laura Tohe; Taniel Varoujan; Avrom Sutzkever.
About the Author
Chris McCabe works as the National Poetry Librarian at the Southbank Centre and launched the Endangered Poetry Project in 2017, a major project to collect poetry written in the world's disappearing languages. His work crosses artforms and genres including fiction, non-fiction, drama and visual art. He was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award in 2013 and his five collections of poetry include Speculatrix (2014), which was commended in the Forward Prize, and The Triumph of Cancer (2018), which is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. His first novel, Dedalus, a sequel to Ulysses, (2018) was shortlisted for the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize, and his work has been described by The Guardian as 'an impressively inventive survey of English in the 21st Century'.