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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.

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«  Bogan's New Yorker Blurb  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

25.11.2017


Bogan's New Yorker Blurb

It's always bothered me that Henry Reed's entry in Contemporary Authors lists among his accomplishments: 'Contributor of poetry and criticism to periodicals, including Poetry, New Yorker, Theatre Arts, Nation, Newsweek, and Time.' Articles and reviews which mention Reed, his poetry or translations, do appear in all these publications, but as far as I know, he never authored a poem or piece of criticism for any of the listed periodicals. It's as though some editor lazily flipped through a subject heading card file, or ran a keyword search for his name.

Reed comes up several times in the New Yorker, when his adaptations of Ugo Betti were staged on Broadway in 1955 and 1982, and there's a review for his translation of Buzzati's Larger Than Life, in 1968. So I was surprised to find a reference to "Brief notes on works by Henry Reed and Rolfe Humphries" in a bibliography of the writings of Louise Bogan.

Bogan was poetry editor of the New Yorker for 38 years, from 1931 until her retirement in 1969. But it was difficult for me to believe that I could have missed something as huge as a whole book review for Henry Reed. As it turns out, the American edition of Reed's poetry collection, A Map of Verona, and Other Poems, receives mention in the "Briefly Noted" portion of the Books column in the New Yorker issue for November 22, 1947 (p. 140):

New Yorker blurb

Two sentences barely even qualify as a blurb, but "accomplished", and "one of the few memorable pieces", coming from Louise Bogan? That'll do just fine. (Rolfe Humphries, of course, was later shamefully abused by cronies Reed and Elizabeth Bishop.)

You know those funny little excerpts from small town newspapers that the New Yorker uses as filler at the end of columns? Like "Constabulary Notes from All Over"? The one following Reed's blurb reads like a parody of "Naming of Parts": 'That greenish tinge on October oranges is a botanical peculiarity. It needn't bother you. These oranges are at their sweetest for they have been ripening on the trees since last May. The color does not mean that they are at their sweetest for they have been ripening on the the trees since last May.—Richmond Times-Dispatch.'


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What is Henry Reed's first name?

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.'



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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