Poetry Without Borders to return after three-year hiatus


Photo courtesy of Anna Zimmer

POETS UNITE — Presenters at Poetry Without Borders in the fall of 2019 pose for a photo. NMU will once again be hosting this celebration of linguistic diversity in the Marquette area on Feb. 23 after a three-year hiatus.

Andie Balenger

The department of Languages, Literatures and International Studies is teaming up with the College of Arts and Sciences to host Poetry Without Borders, a night dedicated to linguistic diversity in the Marquette community. 

The event will feature students, faculty, staff and community members presenting poems in languages other than English. The poems, whether original or written by published authors, will be projected on a screen in English for audience members to follow along.

In creating the event, Anna Zimmer, assistant director of the honors program and associate professor of German, said she wanted to highlight the multilingualism in the Marquette area.

“I think it is important to highlight that there is a lot of diversity here, in a part of the country that is relatively homogenous,” Zimmer said. “I think it is really important for everyone to learn at least one … language other than their first language. It really opens up new opportunities and the chance to have richer, deeper relationships with people who speak other languages.”

Poetry Without Borders was first held in the fall of 2017. Featured languages in the past have been everything from Anishinaabemowin to Armenian, Chinese to French, and even Korean and Finnish. There are no requirements in terms of poem topic or length. 

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23. Those interested in attending, especially those who are considering studying a foreign language, are encouraged to gather at the Peninsula II Room in the Northern Center. A reception with refreshments will follow the presentations.

Anyone who wishes to participate in the event must submit their poem, both in their language of choice and with an English translation, to Zimmer ([email protected]) by February 16. 

“I think one really … unique experience of studying in college is the opportunity to study another language and also the opportunity to study abroad,” Zimmer said. “So I think if students take advantage of those rich opportunities, it can really enrich their lives. It has [in] my own.”