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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Extinction Elegies: An Evening of Poetry, Music and Ecology

28th October 2018, 18:30 to 20:30, Hatfield College Chapel, Graham Huggan, Alice Tarbuck, Veronica Fisiban, John Kinsella, and Luke Carver Goss

A free public evening of creative and critical writings considering the sixth great extinction, with Graham Huggan, Alice Tarbuck, Veronica Fisiban, John Kinsella, and music by Luke Carver Goss.

there you are, in full-moon’s gauze
two polished eyes orbiting your body’s fluffy gourd
a fluffy gourd with a pulse
a phrase from the earth stuck on your nose
your grace is to present yourself completely within the fissures
before time resumes and you disappear
as if you were never there
or as if I never saw you

- from Stuart Cooke ‘Northern Long-nosed Potoroo’

Extinctions remind us how human life is implicated in the life of others. As extinction becomes central, if not definitional, in our age of degeneracy, it is timely for us to consider how some species are adapting to environmental change and others are not. Species and habitats are not fixed; however, accelerating global environmental change increasingly marks our present moment leading towards the next ‘great extinction’: the sixth on our planet in its history.

The evening will feature:

  • The book launch of Colonialism, Culture, Whales: The Cetacean Quartet (Bloomsbury), which “examines the colonial histories of whaling, their legacies in contemporary tourism, and cultural representations of anxieties about extinction in recent literature, television, and film” (Graham Huggan).

  • Readings from two of the UK’s most exciting nature writers, Alice Tarbuck (Edinburgh) and Veronica Fisiban (Sheffield), including commissioned extinction elegies and new variations on ecopoetics

  • Information about a forthcoming publication on extinction by Little Toller, which includes contributions from Durham University Staff, Red Room Australia, and many more.

  • A commissioned piece of music by Luke Carver Goss, drawing together voices from Australia, Britain and Ireland.

We warmly invite you to bring your thoughts, questions and friends to the conversation. We hope there will also be time for your own contributions!

Further information on the project can be found here:

Alternatively email:

With thanks to Durham Centre for Poetry and Poetics, English Studies, Durham Centre for Cultural Ecologies, Durham Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience.

Contact for more information about this event.

Related Links


Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


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