A discussion of Hardy’s occasional poems, written during relatively relaxed moments for or about friends, special moments in history, and on request, is not necessarily trivial in its concerns. Hardy’s work is rewardingly prismatic no matter what the subject; every topic is potentially related to a large number of allied interests, and some of those interests are central in any consideration of Hardy’s way of thinking Nevertheless, grandiose claims for the intrinsic value of these poems should not be made. In one sense every poem written by any poet may be described as ‘occasional’, as a response to a set of circumstances that, better known and more precisely defined, may render difficult the judgement that any other way of responding would have been equally valid. Let me, rather, define the term ‘occasional’ as describing a poem that denotes a minor effort or encapsulates a passing mood, and is clearly identifiable with a given year or event; a poem, in other words, that would not have been written much earlier or later.


Late Lyric Literary Achievement Formal Middle Time Literary Supplement Distinguished Surgeon 
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© Harold Orel 1976

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  • Harold Orel

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