BOOKS A DED­I­CA­TION TO LOST LOVE PO­EMS RE­FLECT ON WIFE’S BAT­TLE WITH CAN­CER AND HER UN­TIMELY DEATH

Cockburn Gazette - - LIFESTYLE - Jes­sica Nico

EX­PLOR­ING the love and life of two peo­ple born to be to­gether, Den­nis Haskell’s new book is a touch­ing trib­ute to the wife he loved and lost.

Ahead of Us is a col­lec­tion of po­etry ded­i­cated to Haskell’s wife Rhonda, who lost her long bat­tle with can­cer, the po­ems ex­plor­ing the love be­tween two peo­ple and the fragility that comes with life.

His eighth book of po­etry re­leased since 1984, Haskell said Ahead of Us tells the story of their life to­gether and Rhonda’s ex­pe­ri­ences with can­cer.

“I be­lieve that in the end, with po­etry, ‘only emo­tion en­dures’, as the an­cient Chi­nese po­ets be­lieved,” he said.

“But ob­vi­ously the can­cer ex­pe­ri­ence is at the core of the book; it was new, we were naive about it, and many of the po­ems are hard won.

“It was writ­ten over many years, as most po­etry col­lec­tions are.”

Many of the pieces, he said, were writ­ten “out of agony”.

“Rhonda died three weeks short of our 40th wed­ding an­niver­sary,” he said.

“The poet and critic Ge­off Page once wrote in a re­view of one of my ear­lier books that it’s dif­fi­cult to write po­ems to your wife or hus­band, but I wrote many over the years. “She was amused but pleased to be my muse. “I owe her much more than the book.” Sus­pect­ing his wife would have been pleased but em­bar­rassed about Ahead of Us.

Haskell is do­nat­ing funds from Ahead of Us the Can­cer Coun­cil WA.

A pub­lic launch will be held at the Pa­tri­cia Craw­ford Court of the Arts Build­ing at UWA on March 8 from 5.15pm.

Visit www.fre­mantlepres­s.com.au for more.

to KNOW­ING IS JUST A TOUCH AWAY

Pic­ture: David Baylis www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d449037

Poet Den­nis Haskell‘s new book Ahead­ofUs ex­plores the love be­tween two peo­ple and the fragility of life.

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