C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Fri May 13, 2016 7:19 am

Thanks, Neville.

Nice point, Bob. I was thinking the same thing.

Gary, items of C. J. Dennis memorabilia aren't much use to anybody if they are just lying around in a private house - whether the house be yours, of that of the person you purchased them from.

Why not donate - or at least lend - them to the C. J. Dennis Society? That way, they could be put on public display at Dennis' former home in Toolangi during the festival in October, and would be viewed by a hundred or more people during the course of the weekend. The memorabilia would then be serving a truly valuable function, as an adjunct to his words, in helping to keep the legacy of C. J. Dennis alive in the hearts and minds of people.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
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Heather

Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Heather » Fri May 13, 2016 11:37 am

Stephen you do an amazing job promoting C.J. Dennis. I don't know of anyone with a bigger love of his works or a more comprehensive knowledge of his life - you are a champion!

The places that should be collecting any works of any artist/poet/writer etc are libraries and larger museums. There is no point in a small organisation such as the C.J. Dennis Society collecting works if there is no home to put them in - such items need to be kept in the right conditions - temperature, humidity, pest control etc. I have been involved in small historical societies where the people involved mean well but have no idea what they are doing, and often do more damage than good. And if individuals buy these things they often end up lost in deceased estates and thrown out by people unaware of their value.

What a wonderful idea if you could buy manuscripts and donate them to the State Library, Gary. I'm sure they would be appreciative. Members of small societies are just normal people - often in the older age bracket and not flush with funds to be seeking out and buying expensive books and other items.

One thing though, Stephen, if you promote C.J. Dennis too much, surely the price of those books and manuscripts etc will go up in price and make it harder for Gary to buy them!

Heather :)

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Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Fri May 13, 2016 12:18 pm

Thank you, Heather. I can assure you that Dr. Philip Butterss who recently wrote a biography of C. J. Dennis ("An Unsentimental Bloke" - Wakefield Press) knows far more about Dennis than I ever will - and I am very indebted to him for much of what I do know.

You make a very good point. The C. J. Dennis Society is not really the best place to donate memorabilia to. Libraries and museums have the professional staff to properly curate valuable historic material. Having said that, though, we do love publicising the few items that do come our way. An interesting case in point is the original handwritten manuscript of "An Old Master" that came to light following a radio interview I gave, and is now up on my website.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
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Gary Harding
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Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Gary Harding » Sat May 14, 2016 3:07 pm

Hey Bob,
I would be more than happy to donate my recently acquired first edition Ginger Mick to get the ball rolling. :)
I was a good friend of the late Ian F. McLaren MLA, who is Den's bibliographer.

If you want any info on C.J. Dennis, just go to Ian's amazing collection.

I saw his staggering Australiana collection when it was in his huge house in Waverley Rd. Victoria. That is before it went to the University of Melbourne's McLaren Collection. It occupies about one floor of the University Baillieu library... or used to.

I mean I was young then but when I started to recite some Dennis, Ian said "It is a good man that knows his Dennis". I will never forget those words. Coming from him that is quite an accolade and memory. He was the real deal... I mean REAL, if you get my drift.

So when the C.J. Dennis Society offers nothing more than excuses for taking no interest in preserving his documents... I just think that I am glad I am not a financial member, or I would be complicit in all that. Ian would think the same, I am sure.

Any library at all would be grateful of a sponsored C.J. Dennis collection. I would chuck out the negative people here with a big boot, the snipers and those who try and put the monkey on someone else's shoulder, and wade right on into getting it done.

It would become the envy of other libraries in short order. And be expanded over the next 50 years, with patrons. That is why you have a Society.... isn't it?

In my submission to the Federal Arts Department last year I proposed that heritage grant funding be made available to Societies such as the C.J. Dennis Society. My thinking was that they could sniff out precious documents (such as the ones I have described), including people who may approach them (but now those people would be wasting their time obviously) and keep them safe for future generations. Not have them vanish for a paltry $480 (plus postage). Disgraceful.

Stephen's dismissive comments just cut all that ground from under my feet.

Out the window, and very embarrassingly so for me.

Why should I be interested in achieving all that, if they could not care less!?

This is Bush Poets Association, not a self-promotion group... isn't it?

BTW when I went to a book auction and I saw Ian McLaren and his wife there, I knew that any hope of picking up traditional Australian poetry books cheap went out the window.
I still got on OK with Ian though. :)

Today, things have changed... and as I have tried (obviously fruitlessly) to point out to ABPA members, if you want to help preserve our poetic history, then get off your backsides and use Google Search.... "C J Dennis price" is what I often use. Don't try and put it back on me, which is kinda silly.

That is the only hint I will give though :) so get searching and get bidding.

Cheers Gary

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Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Neville Briggs » Sat May 14, 2016 4:03 pm

I heard that the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull won the University of Sydney's Henry Lawson Poetry Prize in 1974 with a poem called The Ballad of Gundamire.

I'm sure the Mitchell Library would have an archived copy of Honi Soit from 1974, fascinating historical stuff. Apparently it's a bit risqué, but we know that the Prime Minister's literary award winning tastes are broad and open minded.
Neville
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Heather

Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Heather » Sat May 14, 2016 4:49 pm

Gary, Stephen does more than any other person i know in promoting the poetry of C.J. Dennis. He was one of a handful of people who started the C.J. Dennis Society. which has only been going a few years now. The society is small - it does not have the funds to buy books and even if it did, where would they be housed? The society is not a museum. I don't think it's fair to say that Stephen doesn't care simply because he doesn't share your interest of sitting in front of the computer looking for long lost books and manuscripts. Stephen is out there promoting poetry, doing performances for children and has other interests including saving endangered native species.

It sounds like you should be donating any books or manuscripts to the already impressive collection at the University of Melbourne where it can all be kept together. Half your luck if you have the funds to buy these items, but most of us don't. Stephen simply does not deserve the wrath of Gary.

Heather :)

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Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Neville Briggs » Sat May 14, 2016 4:59 pm

Stephen's explanations of his society's role is reasonable and gracious. Enough said.
Neville
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Gary Harding
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Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Gary Harding » Sat May 14, 2016 5:09 pm

Well I dunno Heather .. Stephen and I are still good mates, at least I like to think so.
There is no rancour... and we have a bit of a joust. :) Youma . humour. :)
I get upset when I see Dennis documents go for nothing. That's all.
I am just as culpable because I thought ".. this Lot 106 will go for $2,000 - $3,000" and so why even bother to bid...

I got caught off balance! Dumb. Should have known better, after all my experience.

Anyway.. I am still a huge Heather Knight fan.. regardless.. and look forward to (somehow) procuring a copy of your amazing book! One day!

Heather

Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Heather » Sat May 14, 2016 5:21 pm

I'm sure Stephen is just as upset that you aren't out there saving the little possum that he campaigns for Gary. We can't be all things to all people and we can't all save precious books, trees, birds, waterways, etc. We all do our bit and do our best and that is all that can be asked.

I'd have thought you'd be hollering out loud from that soap box if Dennis memorabilia goes cheap Gary. You're slipping!


My book is very rare - quite a collectable now. Very very expensive indeed! :lol:

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Re: C J Dennis... going cheap? or not?

Post by Bob Pacey » Sat May 14, 2016 6:32 pm

I am still a huge Heather Knight fan.. regardless..




Crawler !


Bob
The purpose in life is to have fun.
After you grasp that everything else seems insignificant !!!

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