Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis
Biography of Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis
Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, 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.
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".
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.
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. He later went on to publish in The Bulletin.
C. J. Dennis is buried in Box Hill Cemetery, Melbourne. The Box Hill Historical Society have 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, and by a bust outside the town hall of the town of Laura.
Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis's Works:
Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913)
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (1915)
The Moods of Ginger Mick (1916)
The Glugs of Gosh (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)
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Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis Poems
The Ant Explorer
Once a little sugar ant made up his mind to roam- To fare away far away, far away from home. He had eaten all his breakfast, and he had his ma's consent To see what he should chance to see and here's the way he went
A Change Of Air
Now, a man in Oodnadatta He grew fat, and he grew fatter, Though he hardly had a thing to eat for dinner; While a man in Booboorowie
Hist! . . . . . . Hark! The night is very dark, And we've to go a mile or so Across the Possum Park.
Hey, there! Hoop-la! the circus is in town! Have you seen the elephant? Have you seen the clown? Have you seen the dappled horse gallop round the ring? Have you seen the acrobats on the dizzy swing?
Going To School
Did you see them pass to-day, Billy, Kate and Robin, All astride upon the back of old grey Dobbin? Jigging, jogging off to school, down the dusty track - What must Dobbin think of it - three upon his back?
A Cricket Casualty
My dear, I'm awful shorry 'Bout gettin' home sho late. I orra been in hoursh ago; But you know how I hate
Hey, there! Listen awhile! Listen awhile, and come. Down in the street there are marching feet, and I hear the beat of a drum. Bim! Boom!! Out of the room! Pick up your hat and fly! Isn't it grand? The band! The band! The band is marching by!
Old Farmer Jack
Old farmer Jack gazed on his wheat, And feared the frost would nip it. Said he, "it's nearly seven feet - I must begin to strip 'it.
The Dawn Dance
What do you think I saw to-day when I arose at dawn? Blue Wrens and Yellow-tails dancing on the lawn! Bobbing here, and bowing there, gossiping away, And how I wished that you were there to see the merry play!
The I'D Like To Be........ Series
The Sailor I'd like to be a sailor - a sailor bold and bluff - Calling out, "Ship ahoy!" in manly tones and gruff. I'd learn to box the compass, and to reef and tack and luff;
The Long Road Home
When I go back from Billy's place I always have to roam The mazy road, the crazy road that leads the long way home. Ma always says, "Why don't you come through Mr Donkin's land? The footbridge track will bring you back." Ma doesn't understand.
The Looking Glass
When I look into the looking glass I'm always sure to see - No matter how I dodge about - Me, looking out at me.
Mrs Dibbs - Polly Dibbs, Standing at a tub, Washing other people's clothes - Rub-Rub-Rub.
Old Farmer Jack
Old farmer Jack gazed on his wheat,
And feared the frost would nip it.
Said he, "it's nearly seven feet -
I must begin to strip 'it.
He stripped it with a stripper and
He bagged it with a bagger;
The bags were all so lumpy that
They made the bumper stagger.