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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.

Read "Naming of Parts."

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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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Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

10.12.2018


60th Birthday Tribute

Here's a small, but lovely thing: a record at the British Library Sound Archive for a recording of a birthday tribute for Henry Reed, produced by R.D. "Reggie" Smith, and broadcast on Friday, February 22nd, 1974, from 8:35 to 8:55 pm, on BBC Radio 3:

Henry Reed
Reed, Henry, 1914-1986 (speaker)
Broadcaster: BBC R3 19740222
Item title: Henry Reed
Performer name: Reed, Henry, 1914-1986 (speaker)
Item notes: A tribute on the occasion of the poet's 60th birthday. R.D. Smith introduces the recorded voice of Henry Reed reading his poetry (mostly archive material)
FIND FORMAT: M510W
LIST RECORDINGS: M5127BW


Here's a link to everything with Reed listed as a speaker in the Sound Archive catalog.



1524. Reed, Henry. Letters to Graham Greene, 1947-1948. Graham Greene Papers, 1807-1999. Boston College, John J. Burns Library, Archives and Manuscripts Department, MS.1995.003. Chestnut Hill, MA.
Letters from Reed to Graham Greene, including one from December, 1947 Reed included in an inscribed copy of A Map of Verona (1947).


Audio Follow-Up

As an early-morning follow-up to yesterday evening's post, I should point out the British Library's Archival Sound Recordings Project, which, as a pilot program, has set a goal of digitizing 4,000 hours of audio recordings, and making them freely available to educational communities in the U.K.

The project is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), which interviewed both the Head of the Sound Archive, and the Archival Recordings Project Manager back in 2005.

Sample audio from the Sound Recordings Project includes the poet Simon Armitage reading "Entrance," Tolstoy's Waltz in F, and the call of the Tawny Owl (all links to Real Audio files).

The full list of audio samples is on the project's "Listen" page.

«  SoundArchive Audio  0  »


1523. Reed, Henry. "Simenon's Saga." Review of Pedigree by Georges Simenon, translated by Robert Baldick. Sunday Telegraph (London), 12 August 1962, 7.
Reed calls Pedigree a work for the "very serious Simenon student only," and disagrees with the translator's choice to put the novel into the past tense.


Gleanings from the Sound Archive

The British Library Sound Archive lists 47 titles under the author heading "Reed, Henry, 1914-1986." I suspect there are a few more skulking about, which were cataloged with different headings. Somewhere around the apartment I have a printout, intending one day to go over it record by record, and sort out their holdings.

A curious visitor emailed me this week (thanks, Nancy!), and happened to bring to my attention an entry in the Sound Archive catalog for a 1970 recording of "The Complete Lessons of the War." I'd never heard of such a version. There it is, however:
Item notes: A sequence of poems by Henry Reed. The fifth poem, Returning of Issue, has been largely rewritten since the programme was first broadcast in 1966. This new version has been re-recorded.

Recording notes: BBC recording broadcast Radio 3 December 28th 1970.
A quick search of the broadcast schedule in the London Times confirms a rebroadcast on that Thursday, at 10:00 p.m.

That's not even the most amazing thing. While I was poking around in the chaos of the Sound Archive (three entries for each item, Work, Product, and Recording?), I saw a title I didn't recognize: "On the Terrace." The item notes describe the recording as being from the BBC program "Poetry Now" on November 2, 1970, introduced by producer R.D. Smith.

There is no poem entitled "On the Terrace" in the Collected Poems and, while there are undoubtedly many unpublished poems in Reed's personal papers, the collection description at the University of Birmingham does not mention this particular poem. Was it a piece Reed was trying out, but, ever the perfectionist, eventually abandoned? Is it one of his many translations? Did he change the title?

1970 was late in Reed's poetic life, but a time in which he seemed to rise from his long silence, publishing several poems in The Listener, and at last releasing the complete Lessons of the War in print.



1522. Reed, Henry. "Hardy's Secret Self-Portrait." Review of The Life of Thomas Hardy, by Florence Emily Hardy. Sunday Telegraph (London), 25 March 1962, 6.
Reed says this disguised autobiography is a "ramshackle work," but is still "packed with a miscellany of information not available elsewhere, and readers who care for Hardy will find it everywhere endearing, engaging, and full of his characteristic humour."



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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