Here's audio of Dylan Thomas reading "Chard Whitlow" on YouTube. Thomas was also fond of "Naming of Parts," and often chose to recite Reed's poems for public appearances and recitals. This recording comes from the Dylan Thomas Caedmon Collection, discussed here previously.
The video's creator, poetictouch, has a Facebook page with more poetry readings, if you MyFace.
Here's a nice little piece of pop culture, which is not only a good laugh, but a good gauge of where Reed stood in the public eye in his later life. The New Statesman's reader competition for June 22, 1973:
No 2,261 Set by Young Werther
To revert to an old joke-form ('If Lee Marvin married the Princess Lee Radziwill would he be known as Lee Marvin-Lee Radziwill?'), it would be intriguing to know whether, if Beatrice Webb had been around to marry Michael Foot, she would be known as Beatrice Webb-Foot, or if Grace Wyndham Goldie had married D. B. Wyndham-Lewis, she would have been known as Grace Wyndham-Goldie-Wyndham-Lewis. Competitors are asked to supply up to five such examples. Entries by 3 July. (Real names only)
And the results, published on July 13:
Result of No 2,261 Report by Old Goethe
The same couples came up with surprising and rather disappointing frequency. Too many Brown-Windsors, with only John Fuller providing a plausible explanation; too many Virginia Woolfs and J. M. Whistlers, Grace Darlings and W. G. Graces, Billie Jean Kings and Bobby Fischers, and nothing quite on par with the legendary match between Tuesday Weld and Frederic March's eldest boy (she'd have been Tuesday March 2nd). Under the circumstances, it seemed sensible to bend the rules somewhat. £1 for each of those printed.
Those printed included:
If Maude Gonne could have married Richard West, would she have been known as Maude Gonne-West?
If Ellen Terry could have married Dylan Thomas, would she have been known as Ellen Terry-Thomas?
If Margaret Drabble married Sir Leonard Gribble, would she be known as Lady Margaret Drabble-Gribble?
If Gladys Hay married Ronald Biggs, divorced him and married Stephen Spender, would she be known as as Gladys Hay Biggs Spender?
If the future Mrs Bernard Levin married W. H. Auden after her divorce, and after that divorce married Sir Alfred Ayer, would she be known as Lady Levin-Auden-Ayer?
And the entry which caught our attention:
If Mai Zetterling married and divorced in succession Prof. F. R. Leavis, Freddie Laker, Oliver Reed, Henry Reed, and Prof. Richard Rose, would she be known as Mai Leavis-Laker-Reed-Reed-Rose?
Omnibus now presents a new film by Ken Russell: Dance of the Seven Veils. It's been described as a harsh, and at times, violent caricature of the life of the composer Richard Strauss. This is a personal interpretation by Ken Russell, of certain realand many imaginaryevents in the composer's life. Among them are dramatised sequences about the war, and the Nazi persecution of the Jews, which includes scenes of considerable violence, and horror.
I have mentioned previously Reed's final foray into television: in 1969 he delivered a preliminary screen treatment on Strauss, but it was clear that director Ken Russell was not interested in filming a straight-up, chronological biography. Instead, it would be "all dancing and no acting." Unbelievably, Reed still shares credit for the script and scenario:
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:
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.
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).
1508. Birmingham Post, Obituary for Henry Reed. 10 December 1986.
Reed's obituary in the Birmingham Post.
(1914-1986). Born: Birmingham, England, 22 February 1914; died: London, 8
Education: MA, University of Birmingham, 1936. Served: RAOC, 1941-42; Foreign Office, Bletchley Park, 1942-1945.
Freelance writer: BBC Features Department, 1945-1980.
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)