About:

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."

Henry Reed Henry Reed
Henry Reed Henry Reed
Henry Reed, ca. 1960


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Reeding:

Cold Comfort Farm: Sensible Flora Poste moves in with her eccentric country relatives.
The Dog Stars: A man, his dog, and an airplane survive an apocalyptic flu.
The Sparrow: A Jesuit-led mission to a newly discovered planet.


Elsewhere:

Books

Libraries

Weblogs, etc.


Posts from June 2011

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

1.9.2014


Listeners, Who Have Turned Off the Wireless

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.

«  ChardWhitlow Video  0  »


1505. Orwell, George. "Young Writers." Review of New Writing and Daylight (Summer 1943), edited by John Lehmann. Spectator (30 July 1943): 110.
Orwell says of "The End of an Impulse," Reed's criticism of the Auden-Spender school of poetry, 'Henry Reed's essay contains some valuable remarks on the dangers of group literature.'


LOLReed IV

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:

Weekend Competition
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?
Brenda Rudolf

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?
Jedediah Barrow

If Gladys Hay married Ronald Biggs, divorced him and married Stephen Spender, would she be known as as Gladys Hay Biggs Spender?
Lee Woods

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?
Arabella Wittgenstein
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?
Huw Jones
Weekend Competition

Mai Zetterling was a Swedish-born actress; F.R. Leavis was, of course, a distinguished literary critic; Frederick Laker was an airline entrepreneur; Oliver Reed played Athos in The Three Musketeers and should need no introduction; and Richard Rose is an American political scientist who has taught primarily in the UK, and has a CV as long as my arm. The pun is a play on Burns, and I had to sound it out, twice.

«  LOL NewStatesman  0  »


1504. Ludwig, Jennifer. "Lessons of the War: Henry Reed." In vol. 2, Literature of War: Experiences, edited by Thomas Riggs. Detroit, MI: St. James Press, 2012. 359-361.
A relatively lengthy assessment of Reed's influences, position, and the impact resulting from his famous sequence of poems, Lessons of the War.


Dance of the Seven Veils

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 real—and many imaginary—events 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:

Film still

(Via Wonders in the Dark.)



1503. King, Francis. Yesterday Came Suddenly: An Autobiography. London: Constable, 1993. 79-80.
Mentions Henry Reed and Angus Wilson making fun of the Bletchley Park Writers' Circle.


Henry Reed in Canadian Poetry, Eh?

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).



1502. Reed, Henry. Poetry Reading. The Poet Speaks. British Council recording, no. 1636. 12 March 1970. Co-sponsored by the British Council and the Woodberry Poetry Room in the Lamont Library of Harvard University. TAPE ARCHIVE PR6035.E32 A6 1970x, Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Henry Reed reads a selection of his poems for the British Council series, The Poet Speaks.



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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