Poetry in First Languages founder, Kirli Saunders attended the National Indigenous Languages Convention,  Feb 23, 2018 to explore technology and innovation in language conservation.

Poetry in First Languages

Due to the dispossession and relocation of her family, Kirli was not raised with strong cultural and language learning. As a response, she developed the Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) project to be delivered by Red Room Poetry from 2018-2020.

PIFL celebrates, shares and preserves the knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music and art. It aims to support First Nations poets to learn Indigenous languages with Elders and Custodians, to create and publish poetry in language and to support students on Country with Elders to create poetry in First Languages during workshops. Poets for the project this year include Janine Leane (Wiradjuri, established),  Caitlin Saunders (Biripi, emerging), Lyndsay Urquhart (Dhuga, emerging), Joel Davison (Gadigal, emerging).

Poems in First Nations languages from workshops in 30+ communities will be performed and published in local events and writing festivals. In 2020, the poems will be published in a Poetry in First Languages Anthology with RR and HarperCollins. Throughout the project, media partners ABC  will record student and commissioned poems and reflections as well as Elder stories.

In 2018, PIFL workshops will be led on Gundungurra, Gadigal, Dharawal, Bundjalung and Yuin countries. The impacts of Poetry in First Languages on the pride in cultural identity, connection to country and language and overall enhanced wellbeing is being researched by Bailey & Yang Group and UTS Masters student, Eleanor Carless.

In 2019, PIFL will expand, reaching QLD and NT communities, as well as revisiting Dharawal and Gundungurra Country.

Poetry in First Languages is supported by UNESCO, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Wollongong City Council, City of Sydney, Wingecarribee Shire Council, AIME, ABC, Harper Collins, First Languages Australia, Miromaa, Royal Botanical Gardens, NSW Art Gallery, Black&Write! and Bundanon Trust.

Watch the Poetry in First Languages Video here.

Check out Red Room Poetry to find out more.