The Poetry of Dennis Haskell: Stylisation and Elegy


  • David McCooey


In this essay I concentrate on the elegiac poetry of the Australian poet Dennis Haskell. I argue that the emphasis in Haskell’s work on the quotidian, clarity of expression and the communication of emotion, has a material effect on the ways in which Haskell approaches the elegiac project: the poetic expression of grief in the face of loss. In the essay I identify three main classes of elegy in Haskell’s oeuvre: elegies for fellow poets (which, after Lawrence Lipking, I call “tombeauxâ€); the familial elegy; and the spousal elegy. Haskell’s engagement with the genre of the elegy therefore occupies a spectrum between what might be termed “public†elegies, and “intimate†elegies. As I discuss, the intimate elegies indicate a more profound, and sometimes troubled, engagement with the genre of elegy, tipping on occasion in anti -elegy and self-elegy. By undertaking textual analyses of various poems from within the three classes of elegy practised by Haskell, I illustrate the different ways in which he deals with one of the most profound problems that faces an elegist: how to express the profound emotion of grief through the affordances of poetic stylisation.


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How to Cite

McCooey, D. . (2020). The Poetry of Dennis Haskell: Stylisation and Elegy. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 13(2), 19–35. Retrieved from



Section II: Section on Dennis Haskell: Articles