Emily Bronte's achievement as a poet has been in part eclipsed by that of her masterpiece, Wuthering Heights, yet the poems reveal a powerful and highly individual imagination and poetic voice. The Poems of Emily Bronte is the first edition of the poetry to appear with full scholarly apparatus: based wherever possible on manuscripts, it preserves Bronte's original (sometimes unorthodox) presentation, and records the stages of her revisions. The lack of any surviving manuscript of the novel makes this policy particularly valuable, since it offers the reader the rare chance of watching the writer's creative mind at work. Returning to the original manuscripts has achieved a more accurate text than in any previous edition, resulting in a substantial number of new readings. Derek Roper records everything that could be deciphered from these difficult manuscripts, including Emily Bronte' spelling and punctuation, and numerous variants, cancellations, and revisions.
The enlightening introduction and commentary place the poems in their literary context, and a large number of echoes and parallels from Scott, Byron, Moore, and other authors are identified. The 'Gondal' poems are related to what is known of that imaginary world and which many poems are set, and a fresh attempt is made to relate these to Emily Bronte's other poems.