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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.

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«  Collected Covered  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

16.12.2017


Collected Covered

Carcanet Press is readying the release of a paperback edition of Reed's Collected Poems, scheduled for July, 2007. Until recently, information on their website has been scarce, but details are finally emerging.

Now featured is a tantalizing thumbnail of the book cover. I must admit, at first glance I was disappointed, but then I dug a little deeper, and I have to say, I heartily approve of Carcanet's choice! The copyright note on the page reads, "Cover image 'Troops Resting' (detail) by Edward Ardizzone. Crown copyright, reproduced by permission of the Imperial War Museum."

Book cover and painting

Reed's Collected Poems (left), and "Troops
Resting," by Edward Ardizzone.

Edward Ardizzone (1900-1979) was born in Haiphong, in French Indo-China. Educated in England, he took evening classes at the Westminster School of Art while working as a clerk with the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company, eventually becoming a freelance artist and illustrator. He earned recognition through solo exhibitions, and by illustrating for books and popular periodicals.

In 1940, Ardizzone was serving as a Second Lieutenant in an anti-aircraft battery in London when he was appointed an official War Artist by the War Artists Advisory Committee. He tagged along with the British Expeditionary Force through France and Belgium, and served in North Africa. In 1943, he put joined up with the troops invading Sicily, and within a week of the D-Day landings he was in Normandy.

The Imperial War Museum's record for Ardizzone's painting has a modest description which reads like a stanza from Reed's "Judging Distances":

A group of soldiers sit on the ground. One is slumped forward the other is cleaning his rifle. A third has his back to the viewer and is lying stretched out on the ground. To the left of this group some other solders stand around chatting. In the background there is a truck near some trees.

You can view a larger version of "Troops Resting" on the Imperial War Museum's website. (Or, you can query their art collection for "Ardizzone" to see their extensive holdings.) The Museum also has a special exhibition of his sketchbook and war diary. And here's an image search for Ardizzone's work.


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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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