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William Finch (Redhill, Surrey United Kingdom)

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The Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy (Wordsworth Poetry Library)
The Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy (Wordsworth Poetry Library)
by Thomas Hardy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardy was a poetic genius, 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.

The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue
The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - go out and buy it, 27 Nov. 2002
I have been a Bob Dylan fan for more than 20 years now - since I was 16 years old - and I have always had to put up with older people telling me that the Rolling Thunder Tour was the apogee of Bob's touring life. Unfortunately there was no recording of the tour available, except for the rather lack lustre (but charming in it's own way) "Hard Rain".
All of that has now changed, and the "Live 1975" recordings are with us - and they are worth the wait. Dylan has often been criticised for his lack of enunciation - but here he sings more clearly than I have ever heard before. And the attention to detail in the band settings is wonderful. Check out "Hurricane" on disk 2. It's just like the album version, but somehow more urgent, more focussed - "better" in fact.
The highlight for me is "The lonesome death of Hattie Carroll". If you have become bored of hearing Bob "rework" (ie. fail to do justice to) his material over the years, check this out. Yes, he has reworked it, but rather than detract from it, he has added to it immencely. And it serves as a fresh reminder of just what a wonderful piece of writing it is !
The message is clear - whether you are a "new" Dylan fan, or an old stager (and if you are old enough and lucky enough to have been at one of the "Rolling Thunder" shows, I truly envy you) go out and buy it

To a God Unknown (Penguin Classics)
To a God Unknown (Penguin Classics)
by John Steinbeck
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.78

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steinbeck's best work, 22 Nov. 2002
I have read practically everything by Steinbeck, and this is my favourite.
The story of the brothers who move from the security of New England to the wild west, compares the organised and sanitised religion of the east, with the pagan and traditional religions of the natural world.
As is usual with Steinbeck, there is no conclusion as to which religion is better, morally superior etc. The reader is left to make up there own mind - and if you are left wondering, then I guess that Steinbeck must have done a good job !
This is one of the author's early novels, and once you have read it, you will think about all of the others in a different light.

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