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



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.




Weblogs, etc.

All posts for "Contest"

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


Guest Researchers Wanted

Reeding Lessons loves libraries. We love libraries because they are filled from floor to ceiling with stories waiting to be discovered. Stories like when Henry Reed, upon being presented with a bottle of Mumms Extra Dry, once quipped, "Poor baby." Or that Reed had the seat of his trousers scorched by burning brandy at Louis MacNeice's Birmingham going-away party. Or his reprehensible behavior when in the company of the poet Elizabeth Bishop.

There are still secret stories waiting to be discovered. Reeding Lessons wants to share the love, and we're not afraid to beg. So we're issuing a challenge: help fill in the gaps in our research.

Are you a student, librarian, or just a library geek? Would you like to contribute to continuing scholarship on an overly-anthologized, under-appreciated poet? Want to own a rare piece of Reedsh? Then become a Reeding Lessons Guest Researcher!
Step 1. Visit your library! Track down and locate a primary or secondary source on Henry Reed (1914-1986).

Sources should be original (print, not Internet) journal or newspaper articles, book reviews, poems, encyclopedia entries, book chapters, or excerpts from biographies or other non-fiction. Anything written by Henry Reed, or that mentions Henry Reed. It can be several pages in length, or as short as a single sentence.

Here's a list of "most wanted" items, to get you started. I also collect Reed's appearances in anthologies.

2. Scan (or photocopy and scan) this source into a .pdf document, or image file (.jpg, etc.). Include the title page or table of contents, copyright page, and index entry (as appropriate).

This is important! Including the title and copyright pages makes your research verifiable, and reproducible. This is science, people!

3. E-mail the scan to , before 12:00 am EST, Sunday, April 1st.

For the price of a few photocopies and some footwork, the researcher who e-mails the best item before the deadline will receive, in return, a copy of Reed's The Auction Sale, published as a Greville Press pamphlet in 2006, with an introduction by Professor Jon Stallworthy. The pamphlet is worth 7.50 (about $14.75) and, obviously, you must be willing to provide us with a physical mailing address (free shipping to anywhere IRL!).

The Auction Sale cover

We only have one copy of the pamphlet to give away, so:

4. Only the guest researcher who turns up and sends in the most unexpected, colorful, unique, or fantastically interesting source item (as judged by Reeding Lessons) will receive a *free* copy of The Auction Sale.

5. All participants in the Library Challenge, however, will receive credit for their hard work on this blog, with a link to their website (if they would like), and our everlasting respect and undying gratitude.

6. Fine print: We're not sure of the precedent for a project like this, so Reeding Lessons reserves the right to make the rules up as we go along. All decisions will be final. Until we change our minds.
Also, We're not at all sure why we issued this challenge in first-person plural. It just sounded more official that way.

If you have comments, questions, or outrage, please feel free to comment below, or send us me an e-mail.

«  Contest  0  »

1537. Radio Times, "Full Frontal Pioneer," Radio Times People, 20 April 1972, 5.
A brief article before a new production of Reed's translation of Montherlant, mentioning a possible second collection of poems.

Most Wanted*

Armstrong, Martin. "The Spoken Word." Critic on the Hearth. Review of Noises, by Henry Reed. Listener 36, no. 933 (28 November 1946): 767.

Baker, Kenneth, ed. Unauthorized Versions: Poems and Their Parodies. London: Faber and Faber, 1990.

Bridson, D.G. The Christmas Child. London: Falcon, 1950. 10.

Carpenter, Humphrey. The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3, 1946-1996. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1996.

Cox, Michael, ed. "Reed, Henry." A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Feinstein, Herbert. Review of Three Plays by Ugo Betti, translated by Henry Reed. Prairie Schooner 35, no. 2 (June 1961): 180-182.

Hamilton, Ian. "The Forties II." London Magazine 4, no. 3 (June 1964): 67-71.

Heppenstall, Rayner. Portrait of the Artist As a Professional Man. London: Peter Owen, 1969.

Jones, David. Letter to the editor. Listener 50, no 1270 (2 July 1953): 22.

Kenner, Hugh. The Invisible Poet: T.S. Eliot. London: Methuen, 1965. 268.

Korte, Barbara, Ralf Schneider, and Stephanie Lethbridge, eds. Anthologies of British Poetry: Critical Perspectives from Literary and Cultural Studies.
Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000.

Lehmann, John, comp. Poems from New Writing, 1936-1946. London, 1946.

Ling, Peter, comp. Gentlemen at Arms: Portraits of Soldiers in Fact and Fiction, in Peace and War. London: Owen, 1969.

Magalaner, Marvin, and Richard M. Kain. Joyce: The Man, The Work, the Reputation. New York: New York University Press, 1956. 349.

Pascoe, David. "The Hollow Men." Oxford Poetry 6, no. 2 (Winter 1991).

Radio Times, (The Primal Scene, As It Were), 7 March 1958.

Radio Times, "Studies of the Italian Poet," 27 May 1949.

Redlich, Hans F. Letter to the editor (Monteverdi). New Statesman and Nation 35, no. 882 (31 January 1948): 94.

Reed, Henry. (Article on W.H. Auden's poetry). The Mermaid (University of Birmingham student magazine) 1932-36?

Reed, Henry. "Autumn Books." Review of Some Recollections, by Emma Hardy. Listener 66, no. 1700 (26 October 1961): 678.

Reed, Henry. Book review. Listener (3 October 1946).

Reed, Henry. "The Builders." Listener 22, no. 549 (20 July 1939): 143.

Reed, Henry. "Christmas Books." Listener 34, no. 882 (6 December 1945): 669.

Reed, Henry. "Correspondence." Listener 33, no. 840 (15 February 1945): 185.

Reed, Henry. "Correspondence." Listener 33, no. 843 (8 March 1945): 271.

Reed, Henry. "The Door and the Window." Listener 32, no. 825 (2 November 1944):

Reed, Henry. (The Great Desire I Had). Radio Times (24 October 1952): 7.

Reed, Henry. "Iseult Blaunchesmains." Listener 30, no. 781 (30 December 1943): 756.

Reed, Henry. Letter to the editor. Listener 40, no. 1028 (7 October 1948): 529.

Reed, Henry. "Max Gate: Memories of Hardy's Home." Birmingham Post, 15 June 1938.

Reed, Henry. "Morning." Listener 32, no. 811 (27 July 1944): 96.

Reed, Henry. "New Novels." Listener 36, no. 928 (24 October 1946): 570.

Reed, Henry. "New Novels." Listener 36, no. 930 (7 November 1946): 644.

Reed, Henry. "New Novels." Listener 36, no. 933 (28 November 1946): 766.

Reed, Henry. "New Novels." Listener 36, no. 935 (12 December 1946): 856.

Reed, Henry. "New Novels." Listener 37, no. 938 (2 January 1947): 36.

Reed, Henry. "New Novels." Review of Dangling Man, by Saul Bellow. Listener 37, no. 940 (16 January 1947): 124.

Reed, Henry. "New Novels." Listener 37, no. 395 (6 March 1947): 344.

Reed, Henry. "Poem." Listener 18, no. 468 (29 December 1937): 1416.

Reed, Henry. "Poem." Listener 22, no. 556 (7 September 1939): 486.

Reed, Henry. "Poem." Listener 23, no. 587 (11 April 1940): 750.

Reed, Henry. "Poetry in Wartime I: The Older Poets." Listener 33, no. 836 (18 January 1945): 69.

Reed, Henry. "Poetry in Wartime II: The Younger Poets." Listener 33, no. 837 (25 January 1945): 100-101.

Reed, Henry. "The Return." Listener (28 December 1944).

Reed, Henry. Review of A Poet's War: British Poets and the Spanish Civil War, by Hugh D. Ford. Sunday Times (London), 5 September 1965, 39.

Reed, Henry. Review of Expositions and Developments, by Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft. Sunday Telegraph, (pre-June 7) 1962.

Reed, Henry. Review of Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot. Time and Tide (9 December 1944).

Reed, Henry. "Sonnet." Listener 36, no. 927 (17 October 1946): 498.

Reed, Henry. "South." Listener 19, no. 438 (13 April 1938): 806.

Reed, Henry. (The Streets of Pompeii). Radio Times (14 March 1952): 11.

Reed, Henry. "Tintagel." Listener 28, no. 720 (29 October 1942): 564.

Reed, Henry. "Travel Books." Listener 65, no. 1659 (12 January 1961): 91.

Reed, Henry. "Two Novels." Reviews of All Hallow's Eve by Charles Williams, and The Only Door Out by Mary Wilkes. New Statesman and Nation 29, no. 733 (10 March 1945): 160.

Reed, Henry. "What the Wireless Can Do for Literature." BBC Quarterly 3 (1948-1949): 217-219.

Rodman, Selden. "Albion's New Versifiers." Review of The New British Poets, edited by Kenneth Rexroth. New York Times Book Review, 19 December 1948, 4.

Scott, John. "Three Plays by Ugo Betti." Italian Quarterly, 1958: 72-74.

Sinclair, Andrew. War Like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the 'Forties. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1989. 45, 69, 79, 94, 107, 109, 111, 114, 218, 219, 297, 301, 302, 316.

Sinfield, Alan, ed. Society and Literature, 1945-1970. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1983. 160.

Sissons, Michael, and Philip French, eds. Age of Austerity. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1963. 224.

St. John, Christopher. Ethel Smyth: A Biography. London: Longmans, 1959. 250-255.

Suttor, T.L. Review of The Novel Since 1939, by Henry Reed. Southerly 9, no. 4 (1948): 231-232.

Temple, Ruth Zabriskie, Martin Tucker, and Rita Stein, comps. Vol 3, Modern British Literature. New York, F. Unger: 1966.

Val Baker, Denys, ed. Little Reviews Anthology. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1946.

* Citations may be vague. Pagination is approximate. May or may not actually contain a reference to Mr. Reed. More available in the full bibliography.

«  Bibliography Contest  0  »

1536. L.E. Sissman, "Late Empire." Halcyon 1, no. 2 (Spring 1948), 54.
Sissman reviews William Jay Smith, Karl Shapiro, Richard Eberhart, Thomas Merton, Henry Reed, and Stephen Spender.

The Auction Sale

The Auction Sale cover

"The Auction Sale," according to Professor Jon Stallworthy, is Henry Reed's 'most ambitious exploration of the landscape of desire' (Introduction to the Collected Poems, 1991). It was written in 1956, and first published in the journal Encounter, in October, 1958. It's a long poem—in excess of 300 lines—in the vein of Thomas Hardy. Set in Dorset at a country auction, it concerns a rousing bidding war over a painting, 'told in a voice as flat as if the speaker were reading from a country newspaper' (Hardy collected local newspaper stories as sources of inspiration):
The auctioneer again looked round
And smiled uneasily at friends,
And said: "Well, friends, I have to say
Something I have not said to-day:
There's a reserve upon this number.
It is a picture which though unsigned
Is thought to be of a superior kind,
So I am sure you gentlemen will not mind
If I tell you at once before we start
That what I have been asked to say
Is, as I have said, to say:
There's a reserve upon this number."
In Reed's trademark technique of pitting two duelling voices against each other, the grey November setting and flat repetition of the auctioneer stand in stark contrast to the lyricism of a mysterious bidder's desire for a classical painting:
Effulgent in the Paduan air,
Ardent to yield the Venus lay
Naked upon the sunwarmed earth.
Bronze and bright and crisp her hair,
By the right hand of Mars caressed,
Who sunk beside her on his knee,
His mouth towards her mouth inclined,
His left hand near her silken breast.
Flowers about them sprang and twined,
Accomplished Cupids leaped and sported,
And three, with dimpled arms enlaced
And brimming gaze of stifled mirth,
Looked wisely on at Mars's nape,
While others played with horns and pikes,
Or smaller objects of like shape.
Although "Naming of Parts" will always be my favorite, the supreme story-telling and quiet emotion of "The Auction Sale" lends it a special place in my pantheon of Reed's poems. I still remember, clearly, the day I first came across it, collected in Untermeyer's Modern British Poetry at my public library. An undiscovered poem. I recited the whole thing from my wrinkled and well-read photocopy at a local poetry reading, when I had nothing new of my own to share. (I think my interpretation put the crowd at the Daily Grind to sleep that night, despite the legal addictive stimulants. Did I mention it's like, 300 lines long?)

The Auction Sale was published in 2006 as a Greville Press pamphlet. The Greville Press was founded in 1979 by Anthony Astbury and Geoffrey Godbert, with the "enthusiastic support" of Harold Pinter, and the imprint has published the poetry of George Barker, David Gascoyne, W.S. Graham, Edna O'Brien, C.H. Sisson, and David Wright, among others. This collectible edition of Reed's poem includes a critical and biographical introduction by Jon Stallworthy (edited slightly from his Introduction to the Collected Poems).

You can order a copy through Amazon UK, or, if you're feeling adventurous, I have an extra copy to trade. Come back and visit again, for more details. (Bookmark this site: CTRL-D).

1535. Reed, Henry. "Talks to India," Men and Books. Time & Tide 25, no. 3 (15 January 1944): 54-55.
Reed's review of Talking to India, edited by George Orwell (London: Allen & Unwin, 1943).

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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