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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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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

17.4.2021


Reed Reviews Binyon

Re-entering the time machine that is the British Newspaper Archive, I have turned up another couple of early book reviews by Henry Reed, in his hometown Birmingham Post during 1944 and 1945. Here, Reed reviews the posthumously published "last" poems by Laurence Binyon (December 27, 1944, p. 2), including the titular "The Burning of the Leaves," written during the London Blitz:
"They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise
From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour.
And magical scents to a wondering memory bring;
The same glory, to shine upon different eyes.
Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours.
Nothing is certain, only the certain spring."
Interestingly here, Reed refers to the ongoing war as "a second Great War": a war he was still enduring in 1944, working in the Japanese section of Bletchley Park.

Book review

Cover

Binyon's Last Poems

The Burning of the Leaves. By
Laurence Binyon. (Macmillan. 2s.)
By Henry Reed

Some enterprising readers will already know the five poems which give this superb little book its title; they appeared in "Horizon" in October, 1942, under the title of "The Ruins." Some will also know the exquisite "Winter Sunrise," which appeared in the "Observer" shortly after Binyon's death. This book includes variant readings for "The Burning of the the Leaves," and a draft, including some fragmentary passages, of the unfinished next section of "Winter Sunrise." Binyon's habit in composing, we are told in a foreword, "was to start by jotting down isolated lines or parts of a line and to cover pages with these, repeating, correcting, expanding and revising, and so gradually shaping the whole poem." It is always interesting to see how different poets work; when the poet has Binyon's sincerity and feeling and power over words, this becomes a most moving experience.

"The Burning of the Leaves" is among the most beautiful of modern poems. It is a tragic poem, for the war—a second Great War—provides its background; but it has classical control and mastery, a magical use of its imagery, and a calm finality which, among contemporary poets, are to be found elsewhere only in Mr. T. S. Eliot's latest poems. There are other poems in the book which few readers can fail to love: "The Cherry Trees" and "The Orchard" have a perfect clarity, delicacy and lightness which show something of what Binyon learned from the Orient.

«  Binyon Reviews Poetry  0  »


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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