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 to 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.
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