Poetry in First Languages-Gundungurra-2019-Red Room Poetry
Poetry in First Languages-Educators--Red Room Poetry

Gūgarra Djedjembēn Nadaji
Mah Mah Mah
Yallumba Būrajāh Banggliga
~ Jacob Morris, Ethan Bell and Adrian Webster from 'Banggliga

Sharing and conserving knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry

Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) was developed and launched at Red Room Poetry by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders in 2018.

PIFL commissions, publishes and delivers First Nations-led student poetry programs on Country and/or in First Nations community-led locations. Celebrating culture through poetry, music, dance and art, PIFL aims to support students to find strength in their cultural identities through language learning and connecting to Country, Culture and Community with the intention of enhancing overall wellbeing and knowledge.

“Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) addresses a clear gap in the educational and cultural offer for First Nations students in NSW. The program was a one-of-kind opportunity for almost all of the First Nations participants. 95% of the schools and communities involved in PIFL had no other access to First Nations language programs.”

~ BYP Group, Independent Evaluation, 2019

Poetry in First Languages-Dharawal-Victoria-Image-Red Room Poetry

"PIFL has a deep impact on students by helping fulfil an empty void inside them created by dispossession of language which has great benefits for their spiritual and mental health. It engages Indigenous youth to connect with local Elders and language custodians/knowledge holders creating connections within the community which establishes clear pathways for students to seek cultural teachings outside of the project."

~ Declan Furber Gillick, poet and facilitator


Discover the impact of Poetry in First Languages on educational outcomes, connection, identity and wellbeing:

Red Room Poetry is able to deliver PIFL with funding and support from individuals, foundations, government and others. For more information on how you can help us continue and expand PIFL please contact us.

Poetry in First Languages is generously supported by many partners since 2018: Oranges & Sardines Foundation, Ades Foundation, Graeme Wood Foundation, Norman Catts, Northern Illawarra AECG, the National Health Commission and Dharawal Men’s Aboriginal Corporation.

Partners & supporters

  • Bundanon Trust

  • Magabala Books

  • ACT Association for the Teaching of English

  • Aboriginal Health TV

  • Reconciliation NSW

  • National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA)

  • Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Urban Theatre Projects

  • Artbank

  • Reconciliation Australia

  • Royal Botanic Garden & Domain Trust

  • Queensland Poetry Festival

  • Australia Council for the Arts


  • Create NSW

  • Department of Planning, Industry & Environment NSW

  • Aboriginal Affairs NSW

  • Wingecarribee Shire Council

  • Copyright Agency Cultural Fund

  • Nelson Meers Foundation

  • Art Gallery of NSW

  • Merrigong Theatre Company

  • Miromaa Language & Technology Centre

  • NT Writers' Centre

  • Royal Botanic Garden & Domain Trust

  • TorchMedia

  • Wollongong Art Gallery