C.J. Dennis Examined

On the "BookStove" weblog, Barry Carozzi digs into CJ Dennis's poem "The Play", which forms a chapter of his verse novel The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke. In the process he breaks down the first two stanzas of the poem to examine the rhyming beats, and discovers that Dennis didn't use iambic pentameter: "C J Dennis introduces a variation: the fourth line in the stanza has only two beats or feet. The rhyming pattern is AABBCC. There's probably a name for this metre, but I've not been able to locate it, so I'm calling it The Larrikin Metre or The CJ Dennis form."

I wonder if Dennis knew that. He probably did. He may not have been able to articulate it in exactly this manner, but he knew the rules and how and when to break them. "The Play" is one of my all-time favourites. My daughter is studying Romeo and Juliet at school this year but I doubt she'll see the same things in this poem that I do - if she ever gets round to reading it, which I also doubt.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 30, 2008 11:26 AM.

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