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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.

Read "Naming of Parts."

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Henry Reed, ca. 1960


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«  Dylan Thomas Reads Aloud  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

20.9.2017


Dylan Thomas Reads Aloud

'Someone's boring me. I think it's me.' Dylan Thomas recorded dozens of hours worth of spoken word performances for Caedmon Records, starting with the album A Child's Christmas in Wales and Five Poems, in 1952. To celebrate a half-century of spoken word publishing, Caedmon (now part of HarperAudio) has published an eleven-CD set of the complete recordings, Dylan Thomas Unabridged.

The collection includes his most famous poems, "Fern Hill" and "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"; prose works such as Adventures in the Skin Trade and Quite Early One Morning; as well as his final play, Under Milk Wood.

For a limited time [actually, since 2002!], Salon.com is offering free downloads of the complete Dylan Thomas Caedmon Collection, with whole discs compressed as .zip files, or as individual .mp3s. (If you're not a registered member, you'll have to sit through an advertisement, but it's more than worth it. Get a day pass.)

Disc 5 of the set contains Thomas reading two poems by Henry Reed: "Naming of Parts," and "Chard Whitlow" (right-click and select "Save as" to download .mp3s). Although I am dismayed they could spell neither Reed's name nor 'Whitlow' correctly. Thomas' interpretation of Reed's poems is superb, if a little heavy on the satire. He even does a passable impersonation of T.S. Eliot.

In a 1955 letter to her brother, Edith Sitwell mentions hearing a recording of Thomas reading "Chard Whitlow":
‘...that naughty Dylan made a record (whilst reciting at Harvard) of Henry Reed's really brilliant parody of "Burnt Norton" in Tom's exact voice! (Don't tell anyone, as it will 'get round'.) Each line ended with an absolute howl of laughter from the audience, but Dylan, with noble dignity, paid no attention to these interruptions... The record has not been published.’ (Selected Letters of Edith Sitwell, edited by Richard Greene, p. 359.)
I can't be sure without checking a good Thomas biography, but I think the link above may be the exact recording Sitwell is referring to.

By the way: this opening speech, "A Visit to America—An Irreverent Preamble", is flipping hysterical.


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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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