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
Perrine, Laurence. "Denotation and Connotation." Chap. 3 in Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1963. 32-44 [40-43] (.pdf).

Excerpt from Denotation and Connotation


2 Mr. Reed has recorded "Naming of Parts" (LP, Library of Congress, PL 20).



1. What basic contrasts are represented by the trainees and the gardens?
2. What is it that the trainees "have not got"?
3. How many senses have the phrases "easing the Spring" (stanza 4) and "point of balance" (27)?
4. What differences of language and rhythm do you find between those lines concerning "naming of parts" and those describing the gardens?
5. Does the repetition of certain phrases throughout the poem have any special function, or is it only a kind of refrain?


4 Mr. Reed has recorded "Judging Distances" (LP, Library of Congress, PL 20).



1. In what respect are maps "of time, not place" in the army?
2. Though they may be construed as belonging to the same speaker, there are two speaking voices in this poem. Identify each, and put quotation marks around the lines spoken by the second voice.
3. Two kinds of language are used in this poem—army "officialese," and the language of human experience. What are the characteristics of each? What is the purpose of each? Which is more precise?
4. The word bleeders (18)—i.e., "bloody creatures"—is British profanity. To which of the two kinds of language does it belong? Or is it perhaps a third kind of language?
5. As in "Naming of Parts" (these two poems are part of a series of three with the general title "Lessons of War" [sic]) the two kinds of language used might possibly be called "unpoetic" and "poetic." Is the "unpoetic" language really unpoetic? In other words, is its use inappropriate in these two poems? Explain.
6. The phrase "dead ground" (36) takes on symbolic meaning in the last stanza. What is its literal meaning? What is its symbolic meaning? What does the second speaker mean by saying that the distance between himself and the lovers is "about one year and a half"? In what respect is the contrast between the recruits and the lovers similar to that between the recruits and the gardens in "Naming of Parts"? What meanings are generated by the former contrast?




Page last modified: 01 October 2016