Critical and biographical information on Henry Reed, World War II British poet, critic, translator, and radio dramatist — author of "Naming of Parts"
Henry Reed, poet and radio dramatist
The Poetry of Henry Reed Homepage
Louis Untermeyer, ed. "Henry Reed." Modern British Poetry. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1958. 506.

Henry Reed

Henry Reed was born in 1914 in Birmingham, and educated there at schools and the University. Graduated M. A., he served in the Army and the Foreign Office, became a journalist and a broadcaster— much of his verse was contained in plays for radio. One of these, The Streets of Pompeii, was awarded the Premio della Radio Italiana in 1953, and was subsequently broadcast in Canada and the United States. Besides his original writings, Reed has made notable translations from the French and Italian, in particular works by Pirandello, Betti and Montherlant.

A Map of Verona (1947) is a book in five sections, one of which, "Ishmael," consists of lyric interludes that were part of a radio version of Moby Dick, and which were extended into a full length work. A precisionist, Reed is equally at ease in compact lyrics and a flexible blank verse, in philosophical contemplation and styptic burlesque, as in "Chard Whitlow," a dry parody of Eliot's semi-arid, semi-sententious manner. The broad mockery of "Naming of Parts" (from a section ironically entitled "Lessons of the War") is sharply in contrast with the quiet tension of "Sailor's Harbor" and the straightforward but poignant narrative style of "The Auction Sale." Whatever the mood or subject matter, the style is distinctive, delicate but sure.



Page last modified: 01 October 2016