Dennis Haskell has a background in accountancy, and gained a Ph.D in literature from the University of Sydney in 1982. He began teaching English in 1973, and moved to Perth in 1984.
Haskell is a poet, editor, critic and academic. He has been an editor of the literary magazine Westerly since 1985, was for three years the poetry critic for the ABC's Books and Writing programme, and has published numerous collections of poetry. Haskell has been Professor of English and Chair of the Academic Board at the University of Western Australia. He was chair of the Australia Council's Literature Board from 2009 to 2011.
Haskell's poetic style has been described as 'observant, fluent and accessible'. Finding poetry in the 'ordinary', his verse explores the nuances of interpersonal relationships, new environments and domestic life. As well as his collections of poetry, Haskell's books include studies of John Keats, Kenneth Slessor and Australian poetic satire.