Red Room Blog
5th September 2019
Write a poem about extinction and we’ll donate $1 to Rewilding Australia
By Amelia Theodorakis
Extinction gathers along the coastline like a crust; sweeps inland through ecological communities like a noiseless wave. We wear the consequences as though we are blind, as though it changes nothing.
Right now, Australia’s endangered species list is glowing red: 15 frogs, 16 reptiles, 44 birds 35 mammals and 351 plants. The steady decline of each has been catalogued for years. The three mammals nearest to expiry are identified as the central rock rat, the bridled nailtail wallaby and the numbat.
There’s never been a more important time to attend to the plight against our continent’s native species. To acknowledge animals and ecosystems lost and to act to preserve and regenerate communities with which we are still fortunate to co-exist.
Red Room Poetry’s Extinction Elegies commissioned six renowned Australian poets to create lyric works that deepen empathy with endangered and extinct species. Each poet reflects on losses and endangerment of Australian species through the venerated lyric form of the elegy – traditionally used to lament the desolation of human loss.
Refocussing the elegy on the non-human world reminds us that human life is intertwined with all life on earth.
“The challenge as I saw it was to describe extinction as the distinct unravelling of all kinds of knotted relationships, of myriad ways of life and their intimate reliance on each other.”
~ Stuart Cooke in his Extinction Elegies reflection.
Extinction Elegies, in collaboration with Rewilding Australia and Durham Centre for Cultural Ecologies (Durham University), offers the chance for you to help protect and restore Australia’s at-risk species through the poetic form.
In awareness of Biodiversity Month and National Threatened Species Day on 7 September, we invite you to write a poem about a threatened Australian animal or plant. We’ll donate $1 for every poem to support Rewilding Australia’s work to return missing keystone species, like quolls, devils and dingoes, back to the wild.
Send your poem to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about Rewilding Australia’s important work and projects.
Image credit: David Clode.