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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.

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I Capture the Castle: A girl and her family struggle to make ends meet in an old English castle.
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The Heat of the Day: In wartime London, a woman finds herself caught between two men.


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«  Unhappy Vice  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

29.5.2017


Unhappy Vice

M.L. Rosenthal was an American contemporary of Henry Reed, born in 1917 in Washington, D.C., he taught at New York University for more than 50 years. Rosenthal was a poet, editor, and critic, and is credited with attributing "confessional" to the Confessional Poetry movement.

An early review by Rosenthal, "Experience and Poetry," appears in the New York Herald Tribune for October 17, 1948: Rosenthal reviews Henry Reed, Laurie Lee's The Sun My Monument, E.J. Pratt's Behind the Log, Louis O. Coxe's The Sea Faring, Robert McKinney's Hymn to Wreckage, and Four Poems by Rimbaud, translated by Ben Belitt.

New York Herald Tribune

Experience and Poetry
A MAP OF VERONA AND OTHER POEMS.
By Henry Reed. . . . 92 pp. . . . .
New York: Reynal and Hitchcock. . . . $2.50.


Reviewed by M. L. Rosenthal

HENRY REED shares with Laurie Lee, another young English "war poet," a kind of hurt pacifism and the familiar irony that sell so cheaply of late. They share, too, in that unhappy vice of young intellectuals—a certain blandness of which the ever-simple irony is a symptom and which allows them, at a moment's notice, to discuss everything as though it were nothing and vice versa. But Reed has the more inclusive sensibility, and he has been able to protect it by skills of craft, fashioning an armor of rhythmic, stanzaic, and musical structure. Despite their common conviction that the world is flat, Reed has written more verse in the rich "lyric-contemplative" mode and has used mythological themes from Homer to Melville to help him get his bearings. He is further into his art: such places as "Judging Distances," "Sailor's Harbor," and the title-poem achieve something fine and honest, with a dramatic tension that resolves itself by a narrowing of focus from general to intimate personal awareness: "reversal" with the true tragic shock of painful realization.
Rosenthal published two popular poetry books in 1967: a book of criticism, The New Poets: American and British Poetry since World War II (London: Oxford University Press); and and anthology, The New Modern Poetry; British and American Poetry since World War II (New York, Macmillan). As far as I can tell, however, Reed doesn't appear in either.


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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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