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Documenting the quest to track down everything written by (and written about) the poet, translator, critic, and radio dramatist, Henry Reed.

An obsessive, armchair attempt to assemble a comprehensive bibliography, not just for the work of a poet, but for his entire life.

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I Capture the Castle: A girl and her family struggle to make ends meet in an old English castle.
Dusty Answer: Young, privileged, earnest Judith falls in love with the family next door.
The Heat of the Day: In wartime London, a woman finds herself caught between two men.


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«  Posts from 02 June 2011  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

15.12.2017


A brief review of the 1946 Canadian printing of Henry Reed's A Map of Verona appears in the March, 1947 issue of Canadian Poetry Magazine, which alludes to "Naming of Parts" and "Chard Whitlow," but lingers on Reed's monologues from Greek myth:

Journal cover

Reed, Henry: A Map of Verona; Clarke Irwin, Toronto (Cape, London); 59 pp.; $1.00.

In the section called Preludes, Mr. Reed shows a neat wit and humanity in parodies of army instruction and of T. S. Eliot in his oracularly non-committal vein. The more serious poems, through a variety of vividly realised images and legends, explore for the most part problems of personal responsibility and activity, and the individual's relation to the life of the community. The prevailing images are of sea and shore, under extremes of heat and cold, the mood strenuous and the expression tense and forceful. The last poems, which deal dramatically, through the figures of Electra's sister Chrysothemis, and of Philoctetes, with the problem of those who would derive a conscious innocence from a weak amiability, or whom justified resentment might tempt into isolation, combine admirably a sustained relevance to their dramatic situation with a broader reference to problems that are perhaps more pressing and more universal now than they have ever been. The paper is not the best, but the printing and binding compare favorably with Canadian books at double the price.
L.A.M.

This critique was written by Professor Louis MacKay (1901-1982), who was, at the time, with the Department of Classics at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. Hilariously, MacKay was on the staff of the Canadian Forum in 1938 when a poetry chapbook by John Smalacombe, Viper's Bugloss, was submitted for review. MacKay penned a rather unfavorable review (Smalacombe did not "know a sibilant from a snake in the grass"), to which the author replied with a furious, eloquent rebuttal. The Forum had already published both Smalacombe's self-defense and a counter-attack by MacKay before the editors detected any hanky-panky: Smalacombe was actually MacKay's pseudonym; it was his own poetry (Earle Birney, Spreading Time: Remarks on Canadian Writing and Writers, 1904-1949, 1989).


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1513. Hodge, Alan. "Thunder on the Right." Tribune (London), 14 June 1946, 15.
Hodge finds 'dry charm as well as quiet wit' in "Judging Distances," but overall feels Reed is 'diffuse and not sufficiently accomplished.'



1st lesson:

Reed, Henry (1914-1986). Born: Birmingham, England, 22 February 1914; died: London, 8 December 1986.

Education: MA, University of Birmingham, 1936. Served: RAOC, 1941-42; Foreign Office, Bletchley Park, 1942-1945. Freelance writer: BBC Features Department, 1945-1980.

Author of: A Map of Verona: Poems (1946)
The Novel Since 1939 (1946)
Moby Dick: A Play for Radio from Herman Melville's Novel (1947)
Lessons of the War (1970)
Hilda Tablet and Others: Four Pieces for Radio (1971)
The Streets of Pompeii and Other Plays for Radio (1971)
Collected Poems (1991, 2007)
The Auction Sale (2006)


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