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on 22 August 2006
This is an absolutely definitive selection of Thomas Hardy's poems, chosen by Claire Tomalin, to complement her fantastic biography of Thomas Hardy. It's grouped by theme, and you can read his poetry as you would a novel: the story of his love affair and marriage with Emma, his first wife and the love of his life; his adoration of the Wessex countryside, his inner life. All in all this is a classic collection of one of our best loved poet's work. A must.
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on 13 April 2011
Lovers of Thomas Hardy's poetry are not well served by the ebook editions currently available but this seems to be the best on offer. There is a short, illuminating introduction by Claire Tomalin setting the poems in the context of Hardy's life and the poems are grouped by subject or biographical content with brief notes on most of the groups. Each poem starts on a new page and most of Hardy's best known poems are included. However the selection contains less than a hundred poems and some well known ones are inevitably left out. You will not find Beyond the Last Lamp, Friends Beyond and In Tenebris to pick out three.
The ebook edition does have a number of rather glaring faults. For some reason, except where he numbered stanzas, Hardy's division of his poems into verses has been done away with. In some poems the division into verses is integral to the poem's construction, for example in Afterwards, Wessex Heights and During Wind and Rain. Not having the stanza breaks detracts greatly from the enjoyment of reading the poems. There is no reason for it and it seems to indicate a certain fecklessness in production by the publishers.
The book does have a table of contents where each poem is listed but the table cannot be reached from the Go To facility on Kindle. To get to it after reading poems you have either to go to the cover and page forward or go to the Beginning, which takes you to the introduction, and page backwards. There is no index of poems by titles or first lines so the table of contents is the only way of navigating to individual poems.
All told, given the price, this thoughtlessness of production leaves you feeling a bit miffed. And the price is an issue. This is an ebook delivered by simple electronic transfer. There are no material costs, no binding or printing costs and no costs for transporting the book to a retailer, yet the ebook is more highly priced than the paperback. Make up your own mind about the pricing policy of this so-called eminent publisher.
UPDATE April 2014 My comments regarding price are less appropriate now as the price has been reduced by about 50% since I wrote the review and the Kindle edition is now lower priced than the paperback.
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on 4 June 2013
I have read all of Hardy's novels and love them all, so I was curious to see whether his poetry would be as good. Some poems are better than others, but overall I would describe this anthology as a soothing, relaxing, often poignant read. The one about the Titanic is especially imaginative.
I like to read the poems out loud ...... just for myself! Nice to reminded of slower times.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 October 2014
This is a most attractive edition of the selected poems. Although Hardy remains more familiar to most as a novelist, he always regarded himself first and foremost as a poet, the stories merely a source of income to support his poetic work and ambitions. He is, I believe, a very fine poet, with a highly distinctive style and tone. He has influenced many more recent poets, perhaps most notably Philip Larkin.

Claire Tomalin has established herself as a respected literary biographer. Recently I read her account of Dickens’ life, but confess that I have yet to find my way to her biography of Hardy. The poems give a very balanced representation and include all the most widely anthologised poems, so it is unlikely that anyone will be disappointed to find a personal favourite missing. We all have our favourites often growing from Hardy’s touching on an experience that is uncannily close to one of our own. Two of mine are “The Voice” and “Drummer Hodge”. Many may be more drawn to those that focus on the Wessex landscape so familiar from the novels.

This anthology will make a fine addition to the poetry bookshelf and not one that will gather dust there. It would also be an attractive present to any poetry lover. A mild word of warning: do not try to remove the large sticky label on the back cover unless you are keen to remove a fair portion of the cover itself.
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on 6 February 2011
Well produced edition of his poems, handily classified with helpful section notes and introduction. It would have been even better had a 'first line' index been included.
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on 6 December 2013
This is a good collection of Hardys romantic poetry,despite being known as an author,he considered himself a poet first and foremost. I recommend any student of poetry to read this.
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on 4 February 2014
Great to dip into and carry around. I'm no expert, but there's a good variety of subjects, and the poet comes across as a decent man.
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on 9 February 2015
Speedy delivery and the book was perfect
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