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.

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Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


Smithsonian Sounds

One of the things I really wanted to know, when I listened to Oscar Williams' Album of Modern Poetry (1959), was whether or not Reed's "Naming of Parts" was different than the other recordings I had already heard on other albums.

For instance, the Smithsonian Institution's Global Sound offers 99¢ downloads of audio samples and music from almost every country in the entire world; offering everything from tribal music to fiddle tunes, including spoken word records. It's an amazing cultural archive.

One album in particular, Folkways' Anthology of 20th Century English Poetry (1961), has poetry by Reed and his contemporaries John Betjeman, Roy Fuller, Laurie Lee, C. Day Lewis, W.R. Rodgers, and Vernon Watkins. The liner notes for Part II (.pdf) state that these recordings were 'directed by V.C. Clinton-Baddeley, and made by Edgar A. Vetter at 22b, Ebury Street, London, S.W.1, Summer 1958' (Google Maps).

Album cover

I've listened to "Naming of Parts" on both the Anthology of 20th Century English Poetry and An Album of Modern Poetry, and I can safely report that they are definitely two different recordings. Not just different: the Smithsonian's copy of "Naming of Parts" is vastly superior in terms of tone, quality, and clarity. It does sound a bit like he's reading in an empty Tube station, but (in my opinion) Reed gives a more powerful performance on the Folkways' record. The track is only 99¢, and you can get the whole album for just $9.99.

But you don't have to take my word for it. You can join Smithsonian Global Sound and listen for yourself, or just explore what they have to offer. A quick search for "poetry" brings up 59 albums, and 801 tracks!

Add Notation:


Notation for "Smithsonian Sounds":
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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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