on 11 February 2009
Edward Thomas is regarded as one of the most important British poets of the twentieth century, and this detailed publication by Faber will provide readers with not only his complete poetic output, but also incisive critical and biographical depth.
Thomas represented the best of the Georgian Poets, an early-twentieth century group who wrote primarily about the pastoral landscape. Often criticised for being lightweight and lacking orignality, Thomas' work stood out from his contemporaries for its grave emotion, clarity of description and honesty.
As the world went to war, his concise poems about the British landscape underlined the value of what stood to be lost. Concerned with the countryside, his work can be seen as representing the deepening fracture between past and present, the shriking of rural life and the growth of modern cities. It depicts a particular turning point, socially and economically, in British history, as the economy became concerned with mass production. The tone is melancholy, but there is pride instead of hopelessness.
In terms of the presentation of Thomas' material, Faber deserve plenty of credit. This text will appeal to both casual readers, scholars and students alike. The introduction by Peter Sacks is a highlight: this offers a biographical sketch of the writer and also a refined and critical appreciation for his poetry.
In addition there are notes on each of the poems (that include the author's comments), Thomas' war diary and four appendices. By reading the book, you sense that those involved were genuinely concerned with handling the legacy of a great writer in the right way.
on 9 June 2011
This is an outstanding collection of poems, and Edward Thomas has gradually become my favourite poet - I can't believe I didn't know about him years ago. I always find myself drawn to it on complicated or lazy days and it never fails to clear and reinvigorate my mind. Its principle subject, as others have said, is nature, and in every poem I seem to experience the same solace that he did, which he has found through close mimesis with everyday experiences, such as birds singing, trees swaying in the wind, coming across a stranger during a walk and looking out a train window. There is real weight and a sense of exploration in these poems, and in my favourites his observations of nature and his inner-self combine harmoniously making it difficult to separate the two.
The typeset, to me, is perfect: clear, weighty and the lines and poems are nicely spaced. How the poems are placed in the order they were written allows you to see the progression, and the changes in mood he seems to have experienced. There are notes towards the back too which provide some nice insights, especially when some of Thomas' prose writing has been linked to some of his poems. There are two wonderful and extremely well-written introductory essays at the very back of the book which really add to what makes this special. Also, Thomas' war diary illuminates his final days and the comfort he found in reading Shakespeare. This book to me is also the perfect size, and the most appropriate colour.
on 1 July 2009
As a songwriter, I often take inspiration from poets, and Edward Thomas has many an astonishing phrase to resonate in the memory long after. you put the book down: eg, 'stars like seeds of light', 'the whisper of the aspens'.
A very satisfying book to handle, it is a scholarly work with footnotes and references
on 17 May 2006
Edward Thomas is a badly underated poet, up to a few weeks ago I hadn't heard his name. Although he wrote throughout the first world war, he could no be classed a a war poet as most of his poems focus on civilian life. In style, he is more of a georgian poet - quiet and understated. Through a few simple words, Thomas achieves an emotional truth that is difficult to find. My favourite poem, Adlestrop, brought me to tears when I first read it. The transitory nature of life and therefore the pain of memory is discussed here with more poignancy than other writers, such as Michael Frayn in Spies, can manage over 200 pages. In short, highly recomended- a valuable addition to any poetry collection.
This is a beautiful, meticulous collection of Edward Thomas's wonderful poetry. My only slight complaint is that it is too faithful to the presentation of poems in Thomas's original typescripts. I would have preferred something more clean-cut and modern, rather than the fussy use of square brackets and line numbers, especially as so many of the pieces are only 10 or 20 lines long.
on 2 March 2014
Edward Thomas (1878-1917) wrote many books, mostly of biography and topographical subjects such as his wonderful book on Wales (1905). But it wasn’t until the encouragement he received from the American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963) that Thomas turned to writing poetry. Many of his poetic themes centre upon the English countryside and the natural world and there is more than a tinge of sadness encompassing his pastoral scenes. His poems include: ‘As the Team’s Head Brass’, ‘If I should ever by chance’, ‘What shall I give?’, ‘And you, Helen’, ‘Old Man’, ‘After Rain’, and of course the celebrated ‘Adelstrop’, all of which are beautiful examples of the poet’s craft.
Thomas was killed at Arras in 1917 and I find myself turning to his poems at various intervals in my life, which is exactly how poetry should become involved in one’s life’s journey. Wonderful!
on 5 May 2015
Present for husband who seemed please with this gift
on 10 November 2011
Thomas is a much underrated poet, his work far less simple than it at first appears. This collection, well priced and edited, is thoroughly recommended to anyone interested in modern poetry.
on 3 March 2016
A great reflection
on 9 August 2014