C. J. Dennis

[Editor: This post provides links to some biographical information about C. J. Dennis.]

C. J. Dennis was an Australian poet, born in Auburn, South Australia, on 7 September 1876. He was well-known for using the common language of the Australian people in his works, using slang and abbreviated words to a great extent, such as was used by the working people of the time.

Dennis had his poetry published in various magazines and newspapers, such as The Bulletin, writing as “Den”, and achieved some popularity with Australian readers. His first book, Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913), was not a great success, selling quite poorly, but his second book The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (1915), achieved a phenomenal popularity and gave him star status amongst the reading public. He re-published many of the poems from his first book in a new volume, Backblock Ballads and Later Verses (1918), which sold well. Dennis produced a large number of poems in various books during his lifetime.

C. J. Dennis died of cardio-respiratory failure (brought on by an asthma attack) in Melbourne, Victoria, on 22 June 1938.

Books by C. J. Dennis:
1913: Backblock Ballads and Other Verses, Melbourne: E. W. Cole, [1913]
1915: The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, Sydney: Angus & Robertson
1916: The Moods of Ginger Mick, Sydney: Angus & Robertson
1917: Doreen, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, [1917]
1917: The Glugs of Gosh, Sydney: Angus & Robertson
1918: Backblock Ballads and Later Verses, Sydney: Angus & Robertson
1918: Digger Smith, Sydney: Angus & Robertson
1919: Jim of the Hills, Sydney: Angus & Robertson
1921: A Book for Kids, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, [1921] [republished in 1935 as Roundabout]
1924: Rose of Spadgers: A Sequel to “Ginger Mick”, Sydney: Cornstalk Publishing
1932: “I Dips Me Lid” to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Rhodes (NSW): Lewis Berger & Sons, [1932]
1935: The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson

Articles about C. J. Dennis:
Articles about C. J. Dennis (arranged by date):
Preface to first edition [1915]
Henry Lawson’s preface to first edition of The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke
The Sentimental Bloke [6 November 1915]
A review of The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (published in The Queenslander)
A comparison of the Backblock Ballads books by C.J. Dennis [2013]
Compares the contents lists of the two books, highlighting the poems shared between them

References and further information:
Ian F. McLaren, “Dennis, Clarence Michael James (1876–1938)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (accessed 15 October 2012).
Guide to the Papers of C J Dennis and Hal Gye: MS 6480”, National Library of Australia (accessed 15 October 2012)
CJ Dennis”, Toolangi Castella (accessed 15 October 2012)

Further information:
C. J. Dennis”, Wikipedia

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