This selection of poems by Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), edited by David Bromwich, covers the range of Hardy’s extraordinary work: songs, ballads, and sonnets, dramatic monologues and elegies, along with poems that mark epochal events, such as the end of the Great War. This selection shows why Hardy has been admired as the most inward and personal of the moderns, yet also the most accessible and widely read.
Included here is the full and integral text of Chosen Poems of Thomas Hardy, the final selection of his own work that Hardy chose to publish. Bromwich has selected more than one hundred fifty additional poems that cover the length of Hardy’s career, from Wessex Poems to Winter Words. His critical and biographical introduction sets Hardy’s achievement in the context of a career in prose and poetry that has no parallel.
“To recite the titles of poems by Thomas Hardy—‘The Darkling Thrush,’ ‘Channel Firing,’ ‘The Going,’ ‘During Wind and Rain,’ a list that could go on and on—is to compose a love letter to poetry in English. Hardy’s poems have lodged themselves in the heart of the language. In this magnificent selection, David Bromwich presents the verses chosen by the poet himself in 1929, adding a rich further gathering and a graceful and learned introduction. This book is a treasure. An essential volume.”—Rosanna Warren, author of Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters
“David Bromwich has produced a memorably good selection of Hardy. All those who already love the poetry will appreciate having a portable anthology done with such intelligence and taste, while new readers could not find a better introduction to this most individual of English poets in all his variety and range. The heart of this volume is the selection that Hardy made from his own poetry—so we have the interest of seeing what Hardy made of himself as well as an open invitation to decide what we make of him ourselves. ‘One can read him for years and years,’ as Philip Larkin said, ‘and still be surprised.’”—Seamus Perry, Balliol College, Oxford
“This selected volume brings Hardy’s most memorable and moving poems to a new generation of readers in an edition that respects the poet by reprinting his own Chosen Poems, respects the reader by adding further poems that speak to the twenty‑first century, and offers an introduction that brings Hardy’s life and poetry into clear and convincing focus.”—Edward Mendelson, Columbia University