C. J. Dennis

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C. J. Dennis, ca. 1890s

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, (7 September 1876 – 22 June 1938) was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1916 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history.[1]

Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets.

When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the "Australian Robert Burns".[2]

Biography[edit]

C. J. Dennis was born in Auburn, South Australia. His father owned hotels in Auburn, and then later in Gladstone and Laura. His mother suffered ill health, so Clarrie (as he was known) was raised initially by his great-aunts, then went away to school, Christian Brothers College, Adelaide as a teenager.[1]

At the age of 19 he was employed as a solicitor's clerk. It was while he was working in this job that, like banker's clerk Banjo Paterson before him, his first poem was published[1] under the pseudonym "The Best of the Six".[3] He later went on to publish in The Bulletin. His collected poetry was published by Angus & Robertson.

C. J. Dennis is buried in Box Hill Cemetery, Melbourne. The Box Hill Historical Society has attached a commemorative plaque to the gravestone. Dennis is also commemorated with a plaque on Circular Quay in Sydney which forms part of the NSW Ministry for the Arts - Writers Walk series,[4] and by a bust outside the town hall of the town of Laura.[5]

Books[edit]

From The Glugs of Gosh
  • Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913)
  • The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (1915)
  • The Moods of Ginger Mick (1916)
  • The Glugs of Gosh (1917)
  • Doreen (1917)
  • Digger Smith (1918)
  • Backblock Ballads and Later Verses (1918)
  • Jim of the Hills (1919)
  • A Book for Kids (1921) (reissued as Roundabout, 1935)
  • Rose of Spadgers (1924)
  • The Singing Garden (1935)

Shorter poems of note[edit]

Many shorter works were also published in a wide variety of Australian newspapers and magazines.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McLaren, Ian F. "Australian Dictionary of Biography - Dennis, Clarence Michael James (1876 - 1938)". Adb.online.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  2. ^ "AUSTRALIAN POET.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 23 June 1938. p. 2. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Memories of Laura". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 22 June 1932. p. 8. Retrieved 26 December 2013.  This article reproduces the poem, THE SINGULAR EXPERIENCES OF SIX STURDY SPORTSMEN as well as other information about Dennis.
  4. ^ Matilda - Australian Literary Monuments #18
  5. ^ Matilda - Australian Literary Monuments #3

External links[edit]