Dennis Haskell is the author of 7 collections of poetry, the most recent What Are You Doing Here? (University of The Philippines Press, April 2015), and 14 volumes of literary scholarship and criticism. His new collection, Ahead of Us, will be published by Fremantle Press in February 2016. He is the recipient of the Western Australia Premier’s Prize for Poetry, the A A Phillips Prize for a distinguished contribution to Australian literature from the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, and of an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from The University of Western Australia. In June 2015 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for “services to literature, particularly poetry, to education and to intercultural understanding”. 

Poetry, Imagery and Time

This paper discusses the value of ekphrastic poetry through focussing on one key issue that comes into debates about it: the concept of Time. The paper begins with a brief history and analysis of the links and contrasts between poetry and painting – from Horace and Simonides through Lessing and Kant to the modern period. In doing so it also recounts differing views in the philosophy of Time. Authors whose literary works are discussed include T. S. Eliot, Kenneth Slessor and Stephen Carroll, and the author also considers one of his own ekphrastic poems, whose starting point is a painting by the Italian, Giorgio Morandi. The paper argues for a pragmatic approach to the concept of Time and for a view of ekphrastic poetry as a conversation between poetry and painting, rather than an argument.