Critical and biographical information on Henry Reed, World War II British poet, critic, translator, and radio dramatist — author of "Naming of Parts"
Henry Reed, poet and radio dramatist
The Poetry of Henry Reed Homepage
Church, Richard "Poets Worth Praising." John O'London's Weekly 55, no. 1287 (14 June 1946): 115.

Excerpt from Poets Worth Praising
By Richard Church

AM I in danger of becoming wearisome in praise? I cannot help it, for it happens that a young poet has just published a first volume that also is distinguished by the quality of simplicity of character. A Map of Verona (Cape, 3s. 6d.), by Henry Reed, introduces a man two poetic generations later than Muir. But already he writes with authority. He appears as a man of wry, almost sly, humour, endowed with a shrewd critical mind that gives his first work a matter-of-factness wholly acceptable to the fastidious reader's palate. In that technique of dry statement, sometimes almost categorical, you discover a highly individual poetic faculty. It gives his work a stillness that is startling, like the skies in Dali's queer pictures.

At present, the structure is based on a sardonic caprice rather than on the symbols of a philosophy. One asks him what is his base of belief as he contemplates the world within and without. He has seen it through a war and a social chaos, a new vulgarity and a dying culture. Of course he cannot answer. At present he is wandering about, looking and commenting. But he is warm and generous, never peevish. And below this stance of humorous commentary there is passion, which he tries to assuage with scholarship. In this young poet's music

The flutes are warm: in to-morrow's cave the music
Trembles and forms inside the musician's mind.

And the reader is already conjured to stop, and listen. We shall hear more of this.




Page last modified: 01 October 2016