A scholar's approach to a poet -- novelist will have special interest for students of the medium. Hardy's considerable body of writing in verse form is relatively unfamiliar to many who know his novels. But, oddly enough, no one who knows and likes his poetry seems to approach it with the same point of view or to select the same poems. This reader came relatively late to a reading of Hardy- and had a sense of discovery and excitement. And yet Ransom's emphasis seems to be not so much on the sharp and homely detail of the country naturalist, but on the fables, on the irony of the human condition, on the odd twists of his theological poems- heresy to some, on a strange obsession with death and graveyards, on the unevenness of his naturalistic verse forms. He stresses too the importance of knowledge of the autobiographical backgrounds -- but supplies little of it to fill the need. The poems chosen introduce a new side of Hardy to this reader.