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The Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy (Wordsworth Poetry Library)
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2003
Hardy is the most under rated poet that Britain ever produced.
Better known for his novels, Hardy always considered himself a poet first and foremost. And after the "un christian" reception that "Jude the Obscure" received, he decided to devote himself fully to poetry, his first love.
Much of his work relates to rural themes, and is wonderful in it's observation of both wildlife, and human nature. And no writer born before or since has possessed an eye for irony that could come near matching Hardy's.
I can't recommend Hardy's poems highly enough. I discovered them many years ago as a sixth form student who had began to doubt the wisdom of my parents and teachers in leading me down the road to Christianity. And when I discovered that Hardy had already been down the same road and expressed all of the same doubts, felt all of the same guilt etc. etc., and that he could express it in such wonderful poetry - I was reassured, amazed, absolved and made to feel a lot better about myself.
No poetry has ever meant so much to me - and almost certainly never will.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2009
Thomas Hardy's poems are a treasure. Every time I read through the 950 poems in the "Collected Poems" I discover another half-dozen that I have somehow managed not to appreciate before. His "Collected Poems" is a must for any library; and the Wordsworth Classics edition is a good one to own.

Wordsworth Classics editions are generally very good--and reliable: their editors don't interfere with their authors' works! (If you read Hardy's "The Mayor of Casterbridge" in a new Penguin edition, you won't read most of the penultimate chapter; the scholarly editor has used an edition, neither the first that Hardy published nor the last that Hardy corrected, which excludes two-thirds--2,656 words--of that chapter.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2012
The poetry of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) is consistent with his attitude to language in which the written word should convey all the meaning, expression and power of speech with its many forms of dialect, an endeavour not unlike his poetic predecessors, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Robert Browning (1812-1889). Hardy was a great experimenter with his verse, changing the poetic form, rhythms and stress, so many of his poems have a contemporary feel to them.
The Collected Poems, contains over nine-hundred poems from his eight published works: `Wessex Poems' (1898), `Poems of the Past and Present' (1902), `Time's Laughingstocks' (1909), `Satires and Circumstance' (1914), `Moments of Vision' (1917), `Late Lyrics and Earlier' (1922), `Human Shows' (1925) and `Winter Words' (1928).
Many of his poetic themes, as with his novels, focus on man's internal and external struggle with the indifferent force that rules, which inflicts upon him directly, the sufferings, pains and ironies of life and love. Hardy felt a deep `kin-ship' with the land around him and nature features heavily in his many poems, representing various `symbolic' moods and emotions. Also throughout his verse one finds a hideous sense of loss and lurking oppressiveness with a terrific vein of sexual tension, (and I here quote from two of my favourite Hardy poems): `The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing/ Alive enough to have strength to die; / And a grin of bitterness swept thereby/ Like an ominous bird a-wing...' [Neutral Tones, 1867 from `Moments of Vision'] And again in `We sat at the window' also from `Moments of Vision':
`We were irked by the scene, by our own selves; yes,
For I did not know, nor did she infer
How much there was to read and guess
By her in me, and to see and crown
By me in her.
Wasted were two souls in their prime,
And great was the waste, that July time
When the rain came down.'
Like his novels, Hardy's poetry has the power to leave a lasting impression on the reader and they cut through all the Victorian sentimentality to reveal a poet, true to his own soul! Wonderful!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 September 2003
Famously, Hardy gave up writing novels after the poor reception given to "Jude the Obscure". He concentrated instead on poetry, presumably muttering "Right!This'll show 'em!", or something similar, through his gritted teeth.
In my opinion, while admitting that, generally speaking, no one ever puts up a statue to a critic, posterity has something to thank the reviewers of "Jude" for. Instead of having yet more of Hardy's static and uninvolving prose describing the moral and physical problems of the rural Wessex townships, kind of a superior "Archers" without the silly voices, we have more of his excellent and varied poetry.
Some of the poems, particularly the war poems like "Drummer Hodge", have justly remained well known, others, such as "At Casterbridge Fair" may not be so familiar, but are equally fine. My own favourite is "Wessex Heights" a wry, sad piece that somehow manages not to be at all depressing.
Taken as a whole, the most striking thing about the poetry here is, perhaps, its modernity. The author's world weary, stoical recognition of the passage of time echoes loudly in our post-religious Twenty First Century.
Hardy's grasp of a dizzying number of poetic forms is impressive.He is (for some reason) regarded as being in the forefront of English novelists, these complete poetic works show he has, most unusually, the range and depth to be considered in the first rank of English poets too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2013
His genius as poet is brought together in one volume. You note his diversity, depth, and directness.
This book squarely demonstrates his place as a MAJOR POET.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2014
As a lover of T.H's works, I'm always trying to collect his writings as many as possible. This is the very book that I want so much!
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on 2 May 2013
I belong to a poetry group in Dorset, the home of Thomas Hardy, so an ideal book for me. It arrived promptly and was as described. It is a big fat book. I have already delved into it. I will enjoy reading out some of the poems in my poetry group.
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on 19 August 2013
once again some great poetry - a bit more difficult for my year group but they enjoyed reading some of Hardy's poems which they quickly identified as having seen them in extracts.
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on 14 December 2012
Another Christmas present on a wishlist. I never begrudge buying books for people and such a competitive price too compared to the high street shops especially here in Ireland
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on 13 February 2013
Perfect item, thououghly matching description. No delays in arriving date. Absolutely nothing to complain about. Satisfied both of article and of service.
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