Interview with Dennis Haskell: A Snapshot from 2008


  • Lucy Dougan


The following interview with Dennis Haskell was commissioned by Donna Ward, who was then editor and publisher of Indigo: Journal of West Australian Writing. The issue appeared in the Autumn of 2008. In this sense it is a snapshot of Haskell at a particular moment of his rich and on-going career. My particular intention was to trace the ways in which Haskell’s aesthetic and moral orientations as both a poet and a critic stem from his formative experiences, including family background, class, education, reading and the place in which he grew up. Beneath his honest and acute responses one can trace not only the lineaments of Australia’s “poetry wars†but also the impacts of those real wars (WW II, Vietnam and Iraq) on his imaginative life and stance as a poet. Haskell is not a predictable subject to interview. For instance, his statement that “it is important to write about domestic spaces†would perhaps sit at odds with a male poet of his generation. Looking back down the years to this interview with a valued teacher and trojan worker for literature in many countries and many contexts, I would argue that it is Haskell’s iconoclastic character that has kept his practice sharp, surprising and “on song.†The question posed by the poem “Doubt and Trembling†that I discussed with him – “How do we get by/ in a dubious time†– seems in 2019 more relevant than ever.



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How to Cite

Dougan, L. . (2020). Interview with Dennis Haskell: A Snapshot from 2008. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 13(2), 89–100. Retrieved from