Breaking News: Love Not Dead

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A powerful new anthology depicting how love over the past two-and-a-half millennia has found its expression in the words of the world’s greatest poets. No, Love is Not Dead includes many languages classified as vulnerable or endangered by UNESCO, such as Faroese, Irish Gaelic, Māori, Navajo, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Yankunytjatjara and Yiddish. With over half of the world’s 7,000 languages under threat, and many of those communities facing some of the most extreme cases of COVID-19, the anthology suggests ways in which poetry plays a vital part in their revitalisation.

No, Love is Not Dead: An Anthology of Love Poetry From Around the World is edited by Chris McCabe, Librarian of the UK’s National Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre in London, published by Chambers

The book has its nucleus in the Endangered Poetry Project that was launched by the National Poetry Library in 2017 and developed into Poems from the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages (Chambers, 2019). This new anthology develops this project further and also includes many poems written in vulnerable and endangered languages.

No, Love Is Not Dead is a timely affirmation of the great linguistic diversity of poetry and its ability to express passionate love, the most extreme of human emotions. With influential, award-winning poets including Kim Hyesoon, Laura Tohe and Warsan Shire, and languages ranging from Amharic, Akkadian and Ancient Greek to Yankunytjatjara, Yiddish and Yoruba, this unique anthology engages the reader in reflective tales of unlikely love stories and impossible love, love in a time of politics, surrealist love, visual love and free love, offering an intuitive insight into both historical and present-day perceptions of love across cultures.

Including over fifty poets, writing on each of the world’s continents, this new anthology of poems about love features a diverse range of original poems written in a variety of languages – modern, ancient, endangered and constructed – accompanied by English translations and commentaries.

Chris McCabe says: “The book celebrates the idea of love being a universal emotion, but one which has unique expressions in many different languages and is often culturally determined by time and place. I spent the lockdown of 2020 poring through the vast catalogue of the National Poetry Library, re-engaging with some of my favourite love poems, and discovering many new ones which I couldn’t believe I had lived without. At a time of so many borders closing due to the pandemic, the book makes a powerful statement on the pervasive and enduring nature of love poetry across the world.”

The foreword is by Laura Tohe, the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She writes: ” No matter how love is defined in any language, we feel the same exhilaration, passion, mystery and pain associated with love. I can tell you that the reason the Navajo Nation population is so large is because we like to make love, not war.”

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