C. J. Dennis
( Clarence Michael James Dennis )
1876 - 1938
Clarence Michael James Dennis was born on 7 September 1876 in Auburn, South Australia. (He never used his second name, Michael.) He was the son of James Dennis, a retired sea captain who kept a hotel, and his wife Catherine Tobin.
He was educated at Laura and at the Christian Brothers College at Adelaide, where with three others he produced a school paper The Weary Weekly. On leaving school he became a junior clerk in an office, but was shortly afterwards discharged because he found Rider Haggard's novels more interesting than office work.
After working for his father for some time he began sending verses to the Critic, an Adelaide paper. He joined its staff when he was 22, but soon after went to Broken Hill, where he worked successively as miner, carpenter, labourer and canvasser. It was difficult to make even a bare living at any of these occupations, but his experiences widened his knowledge of human nature.
He returned to Adelaide, took up journalism again, and in 1906 founded The Gadfly, a bright publication started with scarcely any capital, which survived for 18 months. Among its contributors was Will Dyson who later established a world-wide reputation as a cartoonist.
Towards the end of 1907 Dennis went to Melbourne, established himself at Toolangi, a rural township 52 kilometres north-east of Melbourne in the hills, and worked as a free-lance journalist on the Bulletin and other papers. In 1913 he published his first volume Backblock Ballads and Other Verses by "Den" (C. J. Dennis). This had but a moderate success, though it contained four of the poems in his next book The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, which made his reputation. It was published in 1915, and over 50,000 copies were sold in Australia within a year. Editions were also issued in Canada and the United States, and before the end of 1919 over 100,000 copies has been issued. Before its first publication Dennis had been working in the attorney-general's department of the Commonwealth government, and was for a time private secretary to Senator Russell. The success of his book enabled him to go to the country again, and he made himself a very pleasant home at Toolangi.
Other books followed in quick succession, The Moods of Ginger Mick (1916), The Glugs of Gosh (satire) (1917), Backblock Ballads re-issued with later verses added (1918), and Digger Smith in the same year. In 1919 Jim of the Hills, a Story in Rhyme was published, and in 1921 A Book for Kids (in prose and verse) reissued under the title of Roundabout in 1935. In 1922 Dennis joined the staff of the Herald, Melbourne, and during the next 15 years did a large amount of writing including much verse on topics of the time. Rose of Spadgers, a sequel to Ginger Mick, was published in 1924, and in 1935 The Singing Garden, mostly a selection from prose and verse contributed to the Herald, appeared.
He died at Melbourne on 21 June 1938. He married in 1917, Olive Herron, who survived him. There were no children.
The great success of Dennis was due to his humour and pathos, his healthy sentiment, and his kindly view of human nature. If his sentiment at times tended to slop over into sentimentality, it was to some extent concealed by his humorous use of slang, of which a glossary was provided at the end of most of the volumes. He wrote verse that could be read with pleasure both by uneducated people and by intellectuals. He was an excellent journalist, a first-rate literary craftsman, and he wrote some of the best popular poetry that has appeared in Australia. Personally he was a good companion much liked by his many friends.
Dictionary of Australian Biography, Angus and Robertson, 1949
Dennis' works include:
- 1913 Backblock Ballads and Other Verses
- 1915 The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke
- 1916 The Moods of Ginger Mick
- 1917 The Glugs of Gosh (satire)
- 1918 Backblock Ballads re-issued with later verses added
- 1918 Digger Smith
- 1919 Jim of the Hills, a Story in Rhyme
- 1921 A Book for Kids (reissued 1935 as Roundabout)
- 1924 Rose of Spadgers (sequel to Ginger Mick)
- 1935 The Singing Garden
Back to Australian Writers
This page covers topics for the Poetry component of English. It provide access to information about Poets, poetry and poetry writing.
Included are poetry collections, specific poets and their work and writing techniques for forms of poetry from nonsense verse to Haiku, ballads to cinquains, limericks to free verse.
Poems & Poets
- 21 Best-loved Poems, Ballads and Songs
‘The activities in this book may address many outcomes in the syllabus’.
- An Australian Poem A Day
‘A celebration of poetry for the National Year of Reading 2012’. Modern and classical poets.
- A Pod of Poets
‘A series of eleven, 40-minute podcasts of Australian poetry, read by the authors. The poets come from all over Australia; some are emerging talents and some are established; several of them are on the school syllabus’. Audio, transcripts, more. Australian ABC.
- Australian Children’s Poetry
‘Showcasing poetry by Australian Children’s Poets’.
- Updated !Australian Poetry Library
‘Tens of thousands of poems from hundreds of Australian poets, all free for you to view’.
- Australian Poetry Slam
A new and totally different way of creating poetry.
- Henry Lawson
‘Australian writer and poet’. Full text plus audio of each.
- Modern Australian Poetry
australia.gov.au. ‘The richness, strength and vitality of Australian poetry is marked by its prodigious diversity. Yet themes persist through this diversity. An abiding interest is the Australian landscape and how to relate to it’.
- Updated !Poems for Kids
‘Written by many famous Australian poets, including ‘Banjo’ Paterson and C J Dennis’. Part of a much larger site that covers many poems grouped under specific topics.
- List of Australian Poets
‘The poets listed below were either citizens or residents of Australia or published the bulk of their poetry whilst living there’. Links to further information. Wikipedia.
- The Poet Les Murray
Bibliography, poems, teaching resources, links, more.
For Australian children’s poetry and poems, see the section above.
- Best Love Poems
Briefly annotated links to multiple sites.
- eLove Poems
Love poems, Love Quotes. Select from a really extensive collection of poets or find poems via topics.
- Love Poems And Quotes
‘The most romantic love poems on the web’. Also poems, quotes for friendship and inspiration.
- Love Poetry
‘A free, online love poetry resource providing the famous love poems by the World’s most popular Poets’.
- 12 Best Poetry Websites for Kids
Interactives and Collections. Compiled in May 2016. ‘These writing tools and examples help. Many of them have forms, tips and scaffolding. Added bonus - many of the sites also have lesson plans for teachers’.
- Christmas Poems
For a selection of links to Christmas poems, visit this page on our web site.
- Every Poet
Classic poems, haiku generator, other links.
- Famous Poets and Poems
‘Dedicated to poetry and to the people who make poetry possible : poets and their readers. Free poetry site. Find a large collection of poems and quotes from over 628 poets’.
- Updated !Haiku
ThoughtCo. Overview, examples, links to other sources.
Poems, Poets, Quotations, Poetry E-books, Manage your Poems, Poem of the Day, Top 500 Poems, Top 500 Poets, Forum, more. Huge collection.
- Poem of The Week
‘The Mission of the Poem of the Week is to increase the appreciation of the variety of poetry in the English language and to provide a resource for educators at large’. Not added to for a while.
- Poetry 101 : Resources for Beginners
Academy of American Poets. ‘How to read a poem; recommendations; glossary; reading guides; Poetry forms and techniques’; more.
- Poetry 180
American. Providing modern poems for secondary students.
- Poetry Articles
Really a collection of collections. Links to collections and in some cases individual poems.
- Updated !Poetry.com
‘Poetry.com welcomes all amateur poets and invites you to participate in the world’s largest and most vibrant poetry community. It will be exciting for you to receive comments and feedback from the millions of people who will read your poetry on this site’.
- Poetry Daily
Written by practising poets.
- Poetry Foundation
‘The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience’.
- Poetry In Translation
‘Presents modern high-quality translations of classic texts by famous poets as well as original poetry and critical works. All texts are downloadable in PDF, EPUB, Mobi, WORD, and HTML formats’.
- Updated !Poetry Lover’s Guide to the Web
Selected poems plus links to other collections.
- Poets Corner
There are approximately 7 000 items.
‘Currently features biographies of more than 500 poets’. Modern and classical poets. Try their Poem-A-Day
- Updated !Representative Poetry Online
‘Includes 3 162 English poems by 500 poets from Caedmon, in the Old English period, to the work of living poets today’.
- Robert Frost
- Shadow Poetry
‘A place for writers to walk out of the shadows’.
- Sheer Poetry
‘Sheer Poetry has sections for primary teachers and students, secondary teachers and students, and for university level and the general poetry reader. Here you will find poems, articles, workshops, interviews and essays, question sessions, more’. UK.
- Updated !Shmoop - Poetry
A mix of classical, modern and very modern poetry, including some by songwriters. More than 120 poems are included.
- The Hypertexts
‘An on-line poetry journal with a simple goal : to showcase the best poetry, literary prose and art available to us. We simply publish the best poetry we can find’.
- The Poem Tree
‘This site is an online poetry anthology, with an emphasis on metered poetry, both traditional and modern. Some excellent free verse is also included’.
- Updated !The Poetry Archive
‘The Poetry Archive makes and acquires recordings of poets from around the English-speaking world and makes substantial excerpts from them freely available online. You can also enjoy new recordings of classic poems from the past read by contemporary poets. The website currently features over 2 000 poems you can listen to without charge’.
- Top 10 Resources on Poetry
Reading Rockets. ‘Explore how to introduce poetry to young readers, the value of nursery rhymes in learning about language, writing poetry in the classroom, great poetry books for sharing, and interviews with beloved children’s poets. Visit our National Poetry Month section for more resources ’.
- Twentieth-century Poetry in English
‘I’ve collected Internet information relating to 116 poets, for 11 of whom I’ve created my own pages, and for the rest of whom a large index page, “Poet Links”’. Not updated for some time.
- New !10 Ways to Use Poetry in Your Classroom
‘From activating prior knowledge to exploring language to capturing character, discover ten ways to integrate poetry into your language, reading, and writing lessons’.
- Updated !All Types Of Poems
‘Poetry Forms, Definitions and Examples’. Also has links to a range of poems under topic headings.
- Different types and forms of Poetry
‘We have created a list of different poetry terms with definitions. Just click on the poetry term you would like to see the definition of’.
- Different Types of Poetry
‘All of the different types of poetry and literary terms can be found on this site together with many examples of the different styles and kinds of poetry’.
- Don J’s Bestbook Poetry Guide Articles
21 chapters, broken into multiple sections each. Suited to older students.
- General Poetry Resources @Web English Teacher
‘Features lesson plans and activities for teaching specific types of poetry or poetry in general. Sites and Activities for Specific Poets and Collections of Poetry are also available’.
- Haiku and Senryu
Definitions with examples, the basics, links, resources, more.
- Updated !How to Write a Poem
‘Here is a list of things to think about that, hopefully, will make the process easier for you’.
- Updated !How to Write Poetry
Creative Writing Lessons. ‘Would you like step-by-step advice on how to get poetry ideas and turn them into poems ? You’re in the right place’. Check the Table of Contents for full details of all the help available, both general and specific.
- Introduction to Poetry Types
Introduces an extensive listing of both Traditional and Invented poetry formats.
- Materials for Teachers
Includes lesson plans, information on teaching poetry, Around the Web.
- New !Online Resources : The Poetry Foundation
Resources for teachers from General Poetry sites, Teacher-specific resources, Single-poet archives and Audiovisual archives. Links to other Poetry areas.
- New !Poetry
National Library of New Zealand. ‘Find out about poetry and how to use it to engage children with reading. With wordplay, humour and fresh insights into the ordinary and extraordinary, children’s poetry captures emotions and confronts serious issues’.
- Poetry Class
Poetry Teachers. ‘Here are some great lesson plans and tips on how to teach funny poetry in your classroom’.
- Updated !Poetryclass - Resource Material
‘We have a wealth of resources to offer teachers, much of which may also appeal to parents or indeed anyone wishing to learn more about how to engage young people in reading and writing poetry’.
- Poetry Lesson Plans
From the National Council of Teachers of English in the US.
- Poetry Lessons for Kids
How to write funny poetry; rhythm; poetic forms; other poetic styles; reciting poetry; lesson plans, video less; dictionaries and rhyming word lists.
- New !Poetry Lesson PLans
Multiple annotated links to material grouped under grades. USA.
- Poetry Styles & Techniques
Lists multiple styles. Links to related areas.
- Updated !Poetry Techniques
‘Helps you know more about the poetry techniques used to enhance the feel of the words’.
- Poetry Writing
Scholastic. Project based on three poets. Levels of usage indicated. Activities from pre-writing to finishing the product and presentation.
- Updated !Rhyme Zone
Find help with rhyme, other aspects of poetry.
- Tanka Online
‘Learn about the lyric poem of Japan known as tanka [waka], now becoming one of the most popular and versatile short forms of poetry in English’. Information about the poetry form and how to write it. Haiku and Tanka Poems is another page. ‘Click on one of the links to find out more information about Haiku and Tanka poetry’.
- The Ultimate Guide to Writing Poetry for Beginners
The Guide ‘starts with getting to know the types of poetry and identifying which forms pull you. That’s where this ultimate guide to writing poetry for beginners comes in. Use this article as a beginner’s guidebook’.
- Updated !Types of Poems
How to Write Poetry. ‘Here you’ll find explanations of different types of poems, with poetry ideas and creative writing prompts to try them yourself ! At the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to read about more poem types and techniques’.
- Updated !Types of Poems for Kids
‘Explain the different types of poems for kids. Make your kids understand in a simple manner so that they remember what they have studied’.
- Types of Poetry
‘These are just a few examples of different types of poetry. Most of the definitions have at least one example of each particular type of poetry for better understanding’. The Handbook gives definitions of terms used in poetry as well as poem types.