The Library of the Congress in Washington, D.C., has lost its first collection of poems by Irish-American writers.
A group of Irish and American artists and writers collected poems from the archives of the National Library of Ireland and the American Poetry Association.
The collection of poetry included some of the most significant pieces of Irish literary work in the past half-century, including the work of James Joyce, the novel Ulysses, the short story collection “The Lovesong Poem,” and poems by the poet and author Cormac McCarthy.
But the library did not have a collection of the Irish-Irish language work from the 18th century, as the collection included.
The loss is a reminder that the Irish language was a source of inspiration for Irish-Americans and an important source of literature for generations to come, said Karen Harker, the group’s co-founder and curator.
“It was the language of poets, poets of the future, poets who are doing important work now and in the future,” Harkher said.
The library also lost the collection of works by other Irish-speaking writers, including Robert Burns and Fanny MacCarthy, who lived in New York City from the mid-19th century through the 1960s.
The archive is now the American Literature and Poetry Foundation’s Literary Collection, but Harkers said the library hopes to bring it back.
The Library, which has been in existence since the late 19th century and is part of the American National Exhibition in Washington and has a mission of “preserving, protecting, and enhancing” the heritage of American literature, is trying to preserve the work that existed before its creation.
“We are hoping to restore what is there and we’re working to get it back as soon as possible,” Hakeem said.