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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.

Read "Naming of Parts."

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Henry Reed, ca. 1960


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Reeding:

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 26 May 2005  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

16.12.2017


For over two years now, since the last time I overhauled the look and feel of the Henry Reed pages, I've been caught in a struggle between design and accessibility, form versus function. The problem, in a nutshell, is that many visitors could not recognize the only clickable button on the site as an actual, clickable button.

Since the site was for the author of the poem "Naming of Parts," I tried to have a theme involving various rifle parts in silhouette: an image map on the homepage, random images on the content pages, and a "flickable" safety-catch to use to send in a search query:

But this proved confusing for many users. Last month, for example, out of a total of 321 search queries run, no fewer than 72 were for the word "Search," which appears by default in the search box as an identifier.

Folks were just clicking on the little safety-catch to see what it would do, and then flipping and digging through the search results and landing on whatever looked interesting. But since the word "search" appears on every page, the results were more or less random (except that the Search page was ranked highest), and a lot of people just ended up choosing an item from the header navigation row. I was also seeing far too many blank queries: people clinking in the text field and then sending an empty box home with the safety-catch.

I really didn't want to give up the safety-catch button. Sure, it's gimmicky. But it tied the whole theme together. Flick the safety-catch. Never letting anyone see any of them using their finger.

But an excess of between 50 and 100 users a month, failing to use one of the simplest interfaces on the site? That's just too many. So I finally broke down, let go of my stubborn, tenacious fixation on design, and let myself gently down into the icy current of the lowest common denominator:

A button.

«  Updates Search  »

Add Notation:

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Notation for "The Safety-Catch":
Allowed: <a> <em> <strong>
What is Henry Reed's first name?

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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