The C J Dennis Challenge

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David Campbell
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The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by David Campbell » Wed May 18, 2016 4:58 pm

In the Henry Lawson thread I said that, in looking at natural poetic ability and versatility, Dennis left Paterson and Lawson well behind. Nobody’s really taken me up on this, so here’s a way of making the challenge more specific.

Below I’ve selected some Dennis poems under a variety of headings based on the five areas of his work identified in the other thread. And I’ve added an extra one…“The Bush”…as this is the traditional basis on which our three iconic poets are judged. Which is intriguing, for, like Lawson, neither Paterson (a solicitor/journalist/soldier) or Dennis (another journalist) could really be described as the hard-working, sweat-of-your-brow ‘man on the land’. The adult Paterson, as a skilled horseman and sportsman, with an athletic build, was easily the best fit for the “bush” image, but in that respect none of them come within a bull’s roar of (for example) our own Ellis Campbell, who spent many years working as a rabbit-trapper, timber-cutter, farmhand, horse-breaker and shearer. (And Ellis wrote in a variety of styles, covering topics both old and new.)

Anyway, the challenge is to match the poems listed below (all are available online if you don’t know them) with comparable examples written by Paterson and Lawson. Any takers?

Cheers
David

Humour

The Play (from The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke): A funny and fiendishly clever take on Romeo and Juliet.

Emotion

The Singing Soldiers (from The Moods of Ginger Mick): An extremely moving war poem. (I read it at Toolangi last year and one of our poets walked out at the beginning. I didn’t notice, but he came up afterwards and apologised, explaining that the poem affected him so much he’d never been able to sit through it.)

Children’s Poetry

The Triantiwontigongolope (from his Book for Kids): A bouncing rhythm in a fun poem with a tongue-twisting title.

Satire

The Stones of Gosh (from The Glugs of Gosh): Political/social comment that is still relevant today.

Topical Newspaper Pieces

Dennis wrote over 3000 daily columns for the Melbourne Herald, so it’s hard to pick one poem (and I believe a lot have not yet been published). But, as we’re in election mode, I’ll go for A Plea for Artists, which was published in the Herald on August 3, 1934.

The Bush

An Old Master (from Backblock Ballads): You can’t get much “bushier” than this rollicking yarn about a bullock team. Note the internal rhyme in the third line of each stanza. (There are two versions of this poem, one longer than the other.)

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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Wed May 18, 2016 5:47 pm

No arguments from me here, David, but for the sake of the Challenge I'll attempt to get the ball rolling with Paterson.


Humour

The Man From Ironbark


Emotion

Kiley's Run


Children's Poetry

Weary Will


Satire

Struggling here…


Topical newspaper pieces

Struggling again…


The Bush

The Man From Snowy River
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
http://www.stephenwhiteside.com.au

Heather

Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by Heather » Wed May 18, 2016 7:26 pm

Do you suppose we could have a week or two to do some homework on this one David?

Heather

Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by Heather » Wed May 18, 2016 7:56 pm

Is there any chance you could cut and paste those poems David (and Stephen)? I can't access any other internet sites at the moment due to computer issues - loong story, don't ask!

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David Campbell
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Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by David Campbell » Wed May 18, 2016 7:59 pm

Yep, no time limit, Heather! I'll see what I can do re the cutting and pasting. I didn't want to take up too much room in the post.

Cheers
David

Heather

Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by Heather » Wed May 18, 2016 8:04 pm

I'm thinking we could do one topic/heading a week and stretch it out a bit, starting with "humour". Post the poems we pick and discuss them one at a time. What do you think?

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David Campbell
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Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by David Campbell » Wed May 18, 2016 9:27 pm

I've no problem with that in theory, Heather, although how would we organise it? For example, would I post The Play in a new thread where others could add theirs? Or would we start a new thread for each poem chosen? The latter is probably neater for discussion purposes, although it would have to be made clear what each poem was related to. What do others think?

(I've emailed the Dennis poems to you.)

Cheers
David

Heather

Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by Heather » Wed May 18, 2016 9:51 pm

The latter might be better. We can discuss one poem at a time then. :)


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David Campbell
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Re: The C J Dennis Challenge

Post by David Campbell » Thu May 19, 2016 8:58 am

Lists of poems can still be posted here as Stephen has done, but, following Heather’s suggestion, I’ll also stretch this out by posting the individual Dennis poems one-by-one in separate discussion threads to allow for comment. You can then create your own Paterson/Lawson threads with the comparable poems of your choice so they are also open for comment. I’ll start a new section every few days. The first thread will be “Humour” with Dennis’s The Play.

Cheers
David

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