And all men kill the thing they love
By all let it be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look.
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss.
The brave man with a sword!
from "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"
Although best known for his sparkling and witty plays, Oscar Wilde also distinguished himself as a prolific poet. From "Ravenna," a prize-winning poem he wrote in college, to "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," penned during his time in prison for homosexual acts, Wilde created a fascinating body of verse. More than 35 of his works appear in this excellent collection, and they reveal the scope and brilliance of his writing. Many were inspired by his time in Italy, including "Sonnet: On hearing the Dies Irae sung in the Sistine Chapel." Other brief pieces, called Impressions, capture the feeling of a moment: "Le Jardin" evokes a garden as winter descends. Still more honor his fellow poets, including "On the Sale of Keats' Love Letters." An enlightening anthology that Wilde lovers will treasure.