14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
varied, sometimes poignant, always interesting,
This review is from: Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems (Paperback)
I seem to remember hearing somewhere that Hardy wrote 918 published poems, no two of which follow the same rhyme and rhythm scheme. It may or may not be true ; certainly one keynote of these poems is variety. Some have strong narratives ; some reflect (usually rather bitterly) on life ; some are ardent ; some celebrate the past, or historical events ; some recall country customs and traditions ; some are humorous (usually in an ironic or bitter-sweet way) ; some - the very best, I think - are elegaic, the poems written after the death of his first wife, in which he recalls the intense memories of their early time together and, driven by guilt - their marriage turned very sour and he was capable of great cruelty - laments how those days, so vivid in memory, gave way to others more problematic, and can never return. Hardy was a great novelist, a great short story writer but, I think and even greater poet, and this collection provides the evidence.