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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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Henry Reed, ca. 1960


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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 06 December 2006  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

15.12.2017


Here's an interesting bit of trivia: a Collected Poems of Henry Reed was proposed as early as 1979, seven years before his death.

The Archive of Carcanet Press is housed in the John Rylands University Library at the University of Manchester. The collection contains communications to and from Carcanet's editors, authors, and critics. In correspondence from between April 1979 and May 1980, editor Michael Schmidt, co-founder of the Press, and David Jesson-Dibley, go back-and-forth about current, possible, and future projects:

Much of this relates to Robert Herrick's Selected poems, edited by Jesson-Dibley as part of the Fyfield series and published in 1980. Includes references to: Schmidt's initial suggestion that Jesson-Dibley undertake the project, and suggestions put forward by both men of potential poets for Jesson-Dibley to edit; the possibility of editing a Fyfield volume of Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury's verse; Jesson-Dibley's suggestion of a volume of lives and anecdotes of seventeenth-century poets; the ultimate selection of Herrick, and plans for the book's content and arrangement; his progress; and the contract. Other topics include: Jesson-Dibley's attempts to find a publisher for a novel he has written and Schmidt's advice on this; the possibility of Carcanet undertaking a Collected Poems of Henry Reed; a play Jesson-Dibley has completed called Ahab and his neighbours; his other work, including some teaching; and Schmidt's book An introduction to fifty modern poets (1979).

I tracked down the library's copy of Fifty Modern British Poets, hoping that Schmidt may have granted Reed a special place among the lives of his peers. But all I found was a small, disappointing note in the editor's Preface: 'Had I been able to include sixty poets, I should have added essays on Robert Bridges, Arthur Symons, John Masefield, Siegfried Sassoon, Norman Cameron, Henry Reed, Seamus Heaney, Alun Lewis, Peter Scupham, and Roy Fisher.'

In his book Reading Modern Poetry, Schmidt asks: 'Will Henry Reed ever be more than an anthology piece and a brilliant parody?' We'll see. Carcanet inherited Oxford University Press's Oxford Poets list in 1999, following OUP's decision to drop contemporary poetry. There is a glimmer that Carcanet intends to reissue Reed's Collected Poems as a paperback in 2007, bringing the book full-circle.


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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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