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.

«  Posts from 19 June 2005  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


Once upon a time, I had two fish: a pair of Bettas. Gandalf was a pale, blue-grey Betta who lived in a bowl in my office at work, and Saruman (it was the start of The Lord of the Rings movies. Hey, I didn't name them!), deep purple and crimson red, who had a magnificent, heated, ten-gallon tank all to himself on the bookcase at home. They were an impulse-purchase of a girlfriend and, along with the cat, rounded out our little menagerie.

As pets go, fish are low, low maintenance; and Bettas are tough as nails, but they don't last forever. By the time the LOTR trilogy had played out in theatres, both Gandalf and Saruman had gone to that big brandy snifter in the sky. For the fourth time in the fifteen years that I've owned it (rescued from my half-parents' Wunderkammer garage), my aquarium lay sterile and empty. Somewhere in the apartment is a box containing tiny, ceramic Greek ruins: Corinthian pillars and capitals.

When I described the sad sight of a barren, unused aquarium to a friend, lamenting the fact that I am, in fact, a dog person at heart, it was suggested that I use it instead to display books. Which are in no short supply around here.

So I rounded up my scattered collection of hardcopy Henry Reed-related material, and created a sort of memorial, print terrarium:


I own barely enough books on Reed to fill even half the aquarium. There's a couple of (relatively) recent journals: Cartographic Perspectives (Fall 2001), which contains an excellent article by Professor Adele Haft on Reed's use of maps and atlases in his poem "A Map of Verona," and The London Magazine (April/May 2003), with a reflective article by Anthony Howell on Reed's posthumously-published and lesser-known poetry. The rest are Reed's scant published works, and a few tangential and reference items. In my mania, I actually bought a couple of tourist guidebooks that Reed may have used during his several trips to Italy, containing the maps of streets through which his "thoughts have hovered and paced."

What's significant is what's missing: two volumes of Reed's radio plays, The Streets of Pompeii and Other Plays for Radio (BBC, 1971), and Hilda Tablet and Others: Four Pieces for Radio (BBC, 1971). The university library here in town has copies, so they've been low on my list of books to fill out my collection. But now, taking a good look at my sad, half-empty aquarium, I think I'm ready to make room for them. Maybe I'll add a "wishlist" to the blog, or even incorporate as a nonprofit the Friends of the Henry Reed Terrarium and set up a PayPal account to accept donations.

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Notation for "Terrarium Books":
Allowed: <a> <em> <strong>
What is Henry Reed's first name?

1530. Radio Times. Billing for "The Book of My Childhood." 19 January 1951, 32.
Scheduled on BBC Midland from 8:15-8:30, an autobiographical(?) programme from Henry Reed.

As a follow-up to this post from May, here's the tale of the poet and translator John Ciardi from New Jersey's North South Brunswick Sentinel ("The only Sentinel bringing you both Brunswicks!"). Ciardi went from piloting B-29s in World War II to eating turkey with Isaac Asimov, translating Dante, and guesting on The Tonight Show. (Via Bookninja, via Bookslut.)

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Add Notation:


Notation for "How Does a Poem Mean?":
Allowed: <a> <em> <strong>
What is Henry Reed's first name?

1529. Sackville-West, Vita. "Seething Brain." Observer (London), 5 May 1946, 3.
Sackville-West speaks admirably of Reed's poetry, and was personally 'taken with the poem called "Lives," which seemed to express so admirably Mr. Reed's sense of the elusiveness as well as the continuity of life.'

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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