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


Contact:


Reeding:

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.


Elsewhere:

Books

Libraries

Weblogs, etc.


All posts for "Video"

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

25.3.2017


Arrows of Desire

I tweeted this a while back, but never posted it here. A reading and re-enactment of Reed's "Naming of Parts," from the Channel 4 series, Arrows of Desire, produced by Optic Nerve, circa 2004. The episode this clip is from is described as:
A selection of well-known poets read and discuss two classic poems—"The Flea" by John Donne and "A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim" by Walt Whitman—as well as two modern ones: a letter from Marie Curie" by Lavinia Greenlaw and "Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed.


The videocassette label lists:
...interpretations and discussions by W.N. Herbert, John Kinsella, Clare Pollard, Owen Sheers, Michael Donaghy, Patience Agbabi, Greta Stoddart, Paul Muldoon, John Stammers, Andrew Motion, Rod Mengham, Tom Paulin, Jamie McKendrick, Roger McGough, Sophie Hannah, Jean Binta Breeze, Matthew Sweeney, Kenneth Koch, Matthew Hollis, Jerome Rothenberg, Jane Hirschfield, Wendy Cope, P.J. Kavanagh, Imtiaz Dharker, Iain Sinclair, Lavinia Greenlaw, and Charles Bainbridge.
I'm curious if anyone recognizes the reader/narrator in this clip? I'm dying to know who it may be!

«  Video NamingOfParts  0  »


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.'


The Wall


The place where our two gardens meet
Is undivided by a street,
And mingled flower and weed caress
And fill our double wilderness
Among whose riot undismayed
And unreproached, we idly played,
While, unaccompanied by fears,
The months extended into years,
Till we went down one day in June
To pass the usual afternoon
And there discovered, shoulder-tall,
Rise in the wilderness a wall....
Henry Reed's poem "The Wall," set to music by Professor Emmy van Deurzen. "The Wall" first appeared in The Penguin New Writing, in 1943. Emmy accompanies a bunch of poems with guitar on her YouTube channel, including Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," and Louis MacNeice's "A Prayer Before Birth" and "Sunlight on the Garden."

«  Video Music  0  »


1512. Reed, Henry. "The Case for Maigret." Reviews of Maigret Hesitates and The Man on the Bench in the Barn, by Georges Simenon. Sunday Times (London), 2 August 1970: 22.
Reed reviews two translations of George Simenon's fiction.


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  »


1511. William Phillips, and Philip Rahv, eds. New Partisan Reader: 1945-1953 London: Andre Deutsch, 1953. 164-171.
Collects Reed's poem, "The Door and the Window," published in the Partisan Review in 1947.


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.)



1510. Birmingham Post, "The Merchant of Venice," 5 March 1937.
Photograph of Henry Reed with members of the Birmingham University Dramatic Society's (BUDS) production of The Merchant of Venice. Shylock played by Ian Alexander.


Naming of Parts Animation

Jim Clark has been "reincarnating" long-dead poets by animating old photographs to make it seem as if their subjects were reading out loud. The effect is sometimes wonderful, especially if the audio is a recording of the actual poet reading his or her own work. Sometimes, however, the animations are haunted by the uncanny valley effect, which can make the more exaggerated movements of lips and eyebrows seem less real (and even a little creepy). Here's the video for Henry Reed's "Naming of Parts":


(You might recognize that recording from from Reed's 1959 appearance on Oscar Williams' Album of Modern Poetry, and the photograph from Reed's time at the University of Washington, Seattle, circa 1965.)

Clark has so far produced over 300 videos, seen here on his poetryanimations YouTube channel. The Second World War poets are represented by Keith Douglas, Alun Lewis, and Sidney Keyes.

«  NamingOfParts Video  0  »


1509. Reed, Henry, "'Tatty': The Year's New Word," Birmingham Post, 13 October 1937.
Discusses the history and usage of the word 'tatty'.


Ooh-Rah

Here's a short clip from the History Channel's Mail Call, hosted by by everyone's favorite gunny, R. Lee Ermey, as he explains the purpose and proper use of that most useless of rifle parts, the stacking swivel (history.com video).

Stacking swivel

The British equivalent of the stacking swivel is, of course, the piling swivel, immortalized in Reed's "Naming of Parts."

«  PilingSwivel Video  0  »


1508. Birmingham Post, Obituary for Henry Reed. 10 December 1986.
Reed's obituary in the Birmingham Post.


LOLReed 3

"Weird" Al Yankovic has an excellent song, "Bob," which is not simply a parody of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," but also an intelligent exercise in palindromes. The music video (YouTube) for "Bob" is a faithful re-creation of the opening sequence to the 1967 Dylan documentary by D.A. Pennebaker, Don't Look Back.

All this reminded me of a promotional gizmo which came out for the release of the Dylan retrospective on CD last year, which we will now use for our own purposes to summarize Henry Reed's poem, "Chard Whitlow," in ten cue cards or less:


"Chard Whitlow" is itself a parody of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, so the circle of life and satire is now complete.

«  ChardWhitlow LOL Video  0  »


1507. Daily Telegraph, Obituary for Henry Reed. 10 December 1986.
Reed's obituary in the Telegraph.


Books of Fury



Because we love libraries and cartoon violence in equal parts. "Books of Fury," featuring Buddhist Monkey vs. a pack of book-defacing scofflaw ninjas. (Highlighters? Nooooo!) An episode of mondo media's Happy Tree Friends.

«  Video Library  0  »


1506. MacGregor-Hastie, Roy. "The Poet in His Workshop: No 4—The Great Unclassified." Arena 48 (March 1958): 10-13 [12-13].
MacGregor-Hastie shows great respect for Reed in this series on the state of poetry (but little regard for the poets of the 'Thirties).


Henry Reed on YouTube

Some enterprising soul has thoughtfully uploaded Robert Bloomberg's 1971 student film adaptation of "Naming of Parts" to YouTube.com:


«  NamingOfParts 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.'


Shall I Nail Thee to a Summer's Day?



In honor (or perhaps despite) of April being National Poetry Month, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert challenges actor and activist Sean Penn to a Meta-Free-Phor-All, moderated by former Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky.

«  Video Poetry  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.


Swivel Tips

One of the odd, esoteric things to the study of Henry Reed is becoming familiar with the arms of World War II and their proper use. For instance, when Reed writes to his sister, in 1941, that he is learning to manage an anti-tank rifle, it is helpful to know that he is talking about the "Boyes" anti-tank rifle (though not particularly useful).

Now, I am not a gun person. Far from it. I know less about firearms than I do about automobiles. Or women, for that matter. Nevertheless, I enjoy watching endless Second World War documentaries on the History Channel, and I'm always intrigued by any details of 1940s-era basic training which may have inspired Reed's "Lessons of the War." Which is why I was so happy to see this recent "Piling Swivel" thread in the Great War Forum, which discusses piling of arms, and includes step-by-step illustrations:

Pile Arms

Also, I stumbled across this compilation of old British Pathe newsreels on YouTube, which opens with a demonstration of rifle training with the Pattern 1914 Lee-Enfield, and mentions not only "easing the spring," but even "judging distances."

The other tangential area to studying Reed is the realm of WWII cryptography, and that gets even more weird and esoteric. Oh, and japonica: I know waaaay too much about japonica.



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.


Fan Vid

Pinckney Benedict, author and professor of English at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, has created what can only be described as a fan video for "Naming of Parts":


You can read Professor Benedict's "naming of parts" and other writing exercises over on his blog.

«  NamingOfParts Video  0  »


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.


Hey, You Guys!

I'm watching "The Electric Company's Greatest Hits & Bits" special, on PBS. "Easy Reader," "The Six Dollar and Thirty-Nine Cent Man," "The Adventures of Letterman." It's like my entire adolescence is being rebroadcast. Rita Moreno, hubba hubba! They opened with this gag, which is like a Shakespearean tragi-comedy, for eight-year-olds:


«  PBS Video  0  »


1501. Reed, Henry. Interview with Peter Orr. The Poet Speaks. British Council recording, no. 1638. 11 June 1970. Co-sponsored by the British Council and the Woodberry Poetry Room in the Lamont Library of Harvard University. TAPE ARCHIVE PR6035.E32 Z5 1970x, Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Henry Reed speaks with Peter Orr of the British Council, as part of the series The Poet Speaks.


For Your Viewing Pleasure

Reeding Lessons is proud to present "Naming of Parts," a film by Robert Bloomberg, based on the poem by Henry Reed. Click to go to video:

Film

Produced in 1971 as a student film at San Francisco State University, Bloomberg's "Naming of Parts" won the Student Peace Prize at the 13th annual American Film Festival. Subsequently, it was picked up for distribution as an educational film. From "Poetry and Film for the Classroom" (English Journal, January 1977), a "highly selected checklist of some of the best films made from poems":

Naming of Parts (Contemporary/McGraw-Hill, 5 min., black and white, 1972). Henry Reid's [sic] poem about a soldier daydreaming during a demonstration/lecture on the naming of the parts of his rifle is presented visually through the eyes of the man. The officer conducting the lesson talks about the weapon and death, but the soldier's thoughts are on nature, sex, and life.

If you prefer a direct, non-Flash link, here's the full version (50MB MPEG file, lengthy download).

«  NamingOfParts Video  0  »


1499. Times (London), "Broadcasting Programmes," 18 June 1964, 6.
Reed's translation of Buzzati's play, "The American Prize," premieres tonight on the Third Programme.



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)


Search:



LibraryThing


Recent tags:


Posts of note:



Archives:


Marginalia: