Nights of Average Nerves: Popular Culture and Me


  • Dennis Haskell, University of Western Australia


In this article an Australian poet and critic reflects on his own aims and aesthetics, set against a world that uncritically praises pop culture and largely ignores poetry. The article considers the difference between “popular culture†and “pop culture,†and the reasons why poetry has fallen from general view, arguing that it is partly because of the strengths of poetry – which always needs a link to the general community and had it until the advent of Modernism – and partly because of the problems built into contemporary evaluations of poetry. Thus the article shifts between personal values and general issues related to poetry in our time, and advocates a return to a traditional valuing of shared emotions rather than of wilful complexity.


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Author Biography

Dennis Haskell, University of Western Australia

Dennis Haskell is the author of 6 collections of poetry, the most recent Acts of Defiance: New and Selected Poems (Salt Publishing, Cambridge, UK) in December 2010, and 13 volumes of literary scholarship and criticism. His All the Time in the World won the Western Australian Premier’s Prize for Poetry in 2007, has been translated into French, and is being translated into Italian and Chinese. Haskell was Co-editor of Westerly, from 1985-2009 and is a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in English and Cultural Studies at The University of Western Australia. He was Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts from 2009-2011 and UWA awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2012.




How to Cite

Haskell, University of Western Australia, D. (2012). Nights of Average Nerves: Popular Culture and Me. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 6(2), 5–18. Retrieved from



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