In 1970, Henry Reed was recorded reading eight of his poems, as part of a series co-sponsored by the British Council
and the Woodberry Poetry Room
in the Lamont Library of Harvard University. The series was The Poet Speaks
, created by Peter Orr, then the head of the Recorded Sound Department at the British Council.
Not only were contemporary British and American poets invited to record their work, but they were interviewed by Orr, Hilary Morrish, John Press, and Ian Scott-Kilvert: talking about poetry, the craft of writing, and being a poet (notably among the interviewees, Sylvia Plath
). Many of these recordings were released on LP records
by Argo Records, starting in 1965.
Some of the recordings for The Poet Speaks
, however, were never commercially released, including those of Henry Reed. But they still exist on reel-to-reel tapes, thanks to the preservation efforts of the Houghton Library at Harvard University (TAPE ARCHIVE PR6035.E32 A6 1970x
). Here's just a sample in honor of National Poetry Day
in the UK, Henry Reed's "The River"
"The River" was published in The Listener on March 26, 1970
, along with another of Reed's poems, "Three Words."
This recording is reproduced with the generous permission of the British Council, the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University, and the Royal Literary Fund
. And there's more. Much more, coming soon!