Thomas Hardy's first love was always poetry. It was not until 1898, when he was fifty-eight years old, having already established his reputation with fourteen novels and over forty short stories, that his first book of poetry, Wessex Poems was published. For the final thirty years of his life he abandoned fiction and devoted himself entirely to poetry. It is a tribute to his remarkable powers of creativity that he is now not only regarded as one of the most important English novelists but is also recognised as a poet of major stature and ever increasing popularity. The Complete Poems , edited by James Gibson, includes all of Hardy's prolific output of more than nine hundred poems, complemented by a detailed notes section. Collected in this single volume are his eight books of verse, all the uncollected poems, 'Domicilium' and the songs from The Dynasts. This new edition contains an additional poem, The Sound of Her .
I suppose I should say a bit about the contents. It contains every poem Hardy is known to have written (unfortunately, it seems to be the only hardback available that does so). They are set out in clear and reasonably-sized print. There is little else: a very short introduction and some notes on publication history of and changes made to individual poems, and the usual indices at the back. It also has a small number of illustrations that Hardy did for the original publications.
I'm not going to star it. I'd have to give it five stars for the contents and half a star, at most, for the actual book and an average wouldn't do justice to my feelings on either.