Search Website
Close Search Pane
Toggle Menu

And regret is that the bird is gone,
Because we didn’t love enough?
Or because the angle of the sphere is out of our control

~ from 'Loss' by Bruce Pascoe

Extinction Elegies is a series of trans-national poetic commissions that deepen empathy with species at risk or recently extinct.

Red Room Poetry, in collaboration with Durham Centre for Cultural Ecologies (Durham University), has commissioned six celebrated Australian poets to create and record new elegies that reflect on losses and endangerment of Australian species. John Kinsella laments the Christmas Island Pipistrelle, Michelle Cahill the King Island Emu, and Bruce Pascoe the Azure Kingfisher. Together with poems by Ali Cobby Eckermann, Mark Tredinnick and Stuart Cooke, these elegies remind us how human life is intertwined with all life on earth.

As countless species disappear due to global environmental change, we edge closer to the next ‘great extinction’ – the sixth in our planet's history. At a literary level, Extinction Elegies takes the elegy – a poetic form traditionally used to reflect on human losses – and refocus it through lyric attention on non-human species and their habitats. 

A three-part radio series with poets and extinction experts John Woinarski, Sarah Bekessy and Thomas Bristow, share Extinction Elegies and losses of the non-human world to encourage awareness, empathy and inspire action through poetry. Linked public readings, podcasts and learning resources support action and workshops at hyperlocal levels. 


EcoArts Australis - Conference 
28 May 2019
University of Wollongong, Innovation Campus

Extinction Elegies: An Evening of Poetry, Music and Ecology
28 October 2018 
Durham Centre for Poetics

Partners and Supporters