Highways, activism, and solastalgia: Poetic responses to Roe 8

Alison Joan Bartlett, Nandi Chinna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper is a response to activism last summer in 2016/17 when bulldozers pushed a 5km highway footprint, known as the Roe 8 extension, through urban wetlands and woodlands in Perth’s southern suburbs. We argue that the impact of the community campaign to halt Roe 8, and the clearing of this land evoked a form of cultural mourning and loss that can be thought of as solastalgia (Albrecht 2008). As an increasingly common experience in the Anthropocene, we are interested in how solastalgia can be expressed. In our need to comprehend and articulate solastalgia, we propose that a poetic response to the Roe 8 bulldozing offers a complex and intense a form of mourning which is not restricted to that summer of activism but connects with broader experiences of environmental loss. Poetry has long been a form of writing that unsettles, that gives voice to the un-namable, to the currents and sinews that run beneath the surface of an often alienating and incomprehensible society. As part of a tradition of activist poetics, this article includes poetry written in response to the physical affect of witnessing radical ecological destruction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018


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