It’s an honour to launch our first site with such an accomplished poet and academic. Dennis Haskell is a highly regarded writer and an important figure in the development of Australian literary studies. His honours include being awarded an A. A. Philips Prize and being made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to literature and culture.
His eighth and most recent collection of poetry, Ahead of Us, charts his relationship with his wife, Rhonda Haskell, and the illness that led to her death in 2012. The book is dedicated to her and all proceeds go to Cancer Council WA.
We used the photograph of Rhonda as a young woman in London that features on the cover of Ahead of Us as the centrepiece of our design. It was the basis for our colour scheme, uniting other elements in the overall aesthetic, and serving to highlight the centrality of the image’s subject to Haskell’s recent work. Anyone familiar with his book will recognise the power associated with this spectral image.
While using this image might seem somewhat confrontational, we hope that featuring it will be seen as an appropriate remembrance to Rhonda. In future, and with further publications, the image and colour scheme can easily be updated, but for this summer at least, we’re pleased with the site’s overall sunny disposition, and hope it reflects the sad beauty that can sometimes spring from terrible suffering and loss.