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.




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Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


I have a cartload of old Listener volumes from offsite storage waiting for me at the main branch, which unfortunately closed before I could get there today, due to an unanticipated power outage. But the universe sent me a small concession: my 1947 book review finally arrived from Interlibrary Loan this morning. (Never fails, it'll always show up the day after you claim it "Not received.")


I always feel an overwhelming thrill of discovery looking at these old documents and journals: the sense that no one else has read these pages since they were originally published, 50 or 60 years ago (no one except, possibly, the poor library clerk who had to photocopy them).

The Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, back in the day at least, was a somewhat homespun affair: typewritten, mimeographed, and mailed to subscribing bookstores and libraries full of hungry patrons wondering which book to read next. Virginia Kirkus (1893-1980) read publishers' galleys, and wrote the succinct reviews herself.

An inarguably favorable review. Kirkus compares Reed with Richard Wilbur, a (slightly) younger American poet of more considerable plumb and prolificity. Both poets' first volumes of poetry appeared in America in 1947.

Reed if the more intellectual of the two, has a firm grasp of the poetic technique, he is more concrete and more vigorous and has a fine sense of irony. He seems therefore more of a force.

Read the entire, original review, "Two Young Poets" (.pdf).

Interestingly enough, Wilbur started out in cryptography during World War II, and was transferred to combat due to his political leanings (whereas Reed began his service with combat training, and was transferred to cryptography). Wilbur discusses the relationship between cryptography and poetry in these videotaped interviews. Not to be missed is "We need a cryptographer, but if we catch you overthrowing the government—you're out." (Both links to embedded video at People's Archive.)

Add Notation:


Notation for "More of a Force":
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.

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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