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.

All posts for "Mail"

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog


The Kindness of Strangers

The pictures page is sporting two new images, both of which were generously provided by people whom I've never met. I am constantly, continuously amazed by the help I receive in my research endeavors. Librarians, clerks, and docents reply to my querulous emails, answering my ridiculously unimportant questions, often taking the time to send photocopies, pamphlets, and lengthy letters through the mail.

After I posted here about Weldon Kees' affection for Reed's poetry, I received an email from the poet and Kees biographer, James Reidel, who was kind enough to provide me with a digital copy of the image I had posted, from his personal collection. Mr. Reidel also alerted me to the imminent publication of the next issue of The Ephemera, which contains his latest effort on Kees: "A Portfolio of Photographs: By Him, Attributed, Performed, Collected."

I also re-connected with Chris, my British counterpart at Webrarian.co.uk, who collects all things related to Reed's radio plays (which my site painfully neglects); in particular, the Hilda Tablet series.

Chris recently discovered a copy of The Streets of Pompeii and Other Plays for Radio which contained a dedication in Reed's handwriting:

Henry Reed inscription

The inscription reads:
Dear Catharine,
These are what an old, and long unvalued, friend of mine called "playlets" and "your bits and pieces". As one of them is slightly longer than "King Lear", and none of them is shorter than "The Comedy of Errors", I found this hard to bear. I hope you will find them a little lighter.
The most likely recipient of this copy of The Streets of Pompeii would have been Catharine Carver, who is credited by Jon Stallworthy with sorting through Reed's notebooks and personal papers for the publication of the Collected Poems.

Carver was a well-respected editor for several publishing houses, including Chatto and Windus, Harcourt Brace, Viking, and Oxford University Press. At some point, she worked for Victor Gollancz, possibly at the time they published Reed's translation of Three Plays by Ugo Betti (London: 1956). Carver also assisted the biographer Michael Millgate with his collections Thomas Hardy's Public Voice, and Letters of Emma and Florence Hardy, and Millgate had previously acknowledged Reed for some assistance in Thomas Hardy: A Biography. Perhaps Carver had some Hardy dealings with Reed?

In his Preface for The Complete Poems of Keith Douglas, Desmond Graham mentions that Carver died in 1991 (p. xii).

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.

The Postman Always Thinks Twice

Usually, uniforms don't do a damn thing for me, but I think I may be developing a crush on my postal carrier. She's an elusive creature, arriving at no appointed time. The fleeting glimpses I've had of her have only been on Saturday afternoons. Today, she managed to come and go while I was out getting coffee.

My postal carrier is work-minded, always looking at the letters in her charge, shuffling them, sorting as she glides along her rounds. She wears glasses. She strikes me as a tough young woman, no-nonsense, matter-of-fact. Perhaps it's just the multiple ear-piercings.

God knows what she must think of me, the person receiving mail at my address. Every couple of weeks, a small, plain, brown-wrapped parcel appears in my mailbox, frequently from England. She must think I have some strange, Britporn fetish (if there is such a thing). Frigid ladies, descended from royalty, with questionable dental hygiene. Bangers and mash. A li'l o' th' ol' Bubble and Squeak, wot?

The reality couldn't be more prosaic. I buy books on the internet. I buy books on the internet like some women buy shoes, or some men buy tools. Not necessarily old books or rare books, but books specific to my affliction: a few journals with articles about Mr. Reed; books in which he's mentioned or cited; a couple of old, mouldering Army manuals. Like the one which arrived today:


Still, there is something magical and romantic about the words Par Avion. I have a history of developing crushes on waitresses, too. It must be the service industries. I can delude myself into thinking they like me, simply because they bring me things. Coffee. Mail. Pizza. Books.

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1529. Sackville-West, Vita. "Seething Brain." Observer (London), 5 May 1946, 3.
Sackville-West speaks admirably of Reed's poetry, and was personally 'taken with the poem called "Lives," which seemed to express so admirably Mr. Reed's sense of the elusiveness as well as the continuity of life.'

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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