About:

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


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Reeding:

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.


Elsewhere:

Books

Libraries

Weblogs, etc.


All posts for "Music"

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

12.12.2018


The Wall


The place where our two gardens meet
Is undivided by a street,
And mingled flower and weed caress
And fill our double wilderness
Among whose riot undismayed
And unreproached, we idly played,
While, unaccompanied by fears,
The months extended into years,
Till we went down one day in June
To pass the usual afternoon
And there discovered, shoulder-tall,
Rise in the wilderness a wall....
Henry Reed's poem "The Wall," set to music by Professor Emmy van Deurzen. "The Wall" first appeared in The Penguin New Writing, in 1943. Emmy accompanies a bunch of poems with guitar on her YouTube channel, including Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," and Louis MacNeice's "A Prayer Before Birth" and "Sunlight on the Garden."

«  Video Music  0  »


1524. Reed, Henry. Letters to Graham Greene, 1947-1948. Graham Greene Papers, 1807-1999. Boston College, John J. Burns Library, Archives and Manuscripts Department, MS.1995.003. Chestnut Hill, MA.
Letters from Reed to Graham Greene, including one from December, 1947 Reed included in an inscribed copy of A Map of Verona (1947).


Sheep May Safely Graze

The Broadview Anthology of Poetry (edited by Herbert Rosengarten and Amanda Goldrick-Jones, 2008) adds an interesting footnote to Reed's "Judging Distances." The lines:
         Things only appear to be things.

A barn is not called a barn, to put it more plainly,
Or a field in the distance, where sheep may
                                                      be safely grazing
1
[42-44]
have the following note:
1 Sheep ... grazing An allusion to the Christmas anthem "Sheep May Safely Graze," by J.S. Bach.
[p. 569]
I never made that connection, before. The Bach piece in question is "Schafe können sicher weiden" (I'm sure you know):


The aria, translated from the German:
Sheep may safely graze
Where a good shepherd keeps watch.
     Where rulers govern well,
     One can sense both peace and calm
     And all that makes a land content.

«  Music Allusions  0  »


1523. Reed, Henry. "Simenon's Saga." Review of Pedigree by Georges Simenon, translated by Robert Baldick. Sunday Telegraph (London), 12 August 1962, 7.
Reed calls Pedigree a work for the "very serious Simenon student only," and disagrees with the translator's choice to put the novel into the past tense.


Writers and Music

Henry Reed gave any number of BBC radio talks during the 1940s and '50s, most of which are lost to time. He is not always given credit in the broadcasting schedules of the day, or if he is, his subject is not always named. Some of his book talks are quoted in publishers' advertisements for novels in contemporary journals and magazines, or he may be quoted by another critic in a print review.

Here we have a record of a talk Reed gave on April 7, 1949, "Writers and Music," from the Times broadcasting schedule:

London Times

This talk is mentioned by W.R. Anderson in his "Round About Radio" column in the Musical Times for May, 1949 (p. 161):

Henry Reed, talking about 'Writers and Music', was not concerned with this sometimes nagging pre-occupation. One passage of his might well stand as a whimsical P.S. to our Editor's February thought-stirring article 'On Influence and Borrowing', in which vast ground I beg him, and others, to continue digging. Mr. Reed, whose beginning I missed, was, I take it, imagining the lay author's diversion with various fantasies of himself as a musicologist giving out new truths, or controverting the pestilent heresies of pretentious rivals. Reminiscence-hunting can be as futile as fifth-chasing; but we might have a bit of good writing about the real values of 'influences'. There is plenty of room for a good book dealing, more fully than a general history can, with this admittedly fascinating aspect of history. It is not only in theme or harmony that we can detect similarities; there is style, and the sort of overblown oddness that, one might think, was afflicting a clever man like Holst, in the 'Planets': one of the leading cases, to my mind, in which to exhibit both the stirs and depressions of a fin de siècle upthrust of quite irresistible force. Holst, so original in some ways, was a curious case. We should be given more of his best work; but nobody is served by shutting eyes and ears to the astonishing amount of pastiche in those 'Planets'. He was a strange mixture—in that way the most interesting modern English composer.

So here we have not only have a record of the time, date, and duration of Reed's talk, but also an ostensible review; and yet I still have no idea what Reed was talking about. Which writers, and what music?

«  Radio Music  0  »


1522. Reed, Henry. "Hardy's Secret Self-Portrait." Review of The Life of Thomas Hardy, by Florence Emily Hardy. Sunday Telegraph (London), 25 March 1962, 6.
Reed says this disguised autobiography is a "ramshackle work," but is still "packed with a miscellany of information not available elsewhere, and readers who care for Hardy will find it everywhere endearing, engaging, and full of his characteristic humour."


St. Petersburg is More than Twice as Little as Moscow

I think Zhopa Novy God (MySpace) is my new favorite Russian festive brass band. Their track, "St. Petersburg is More than Twice as Little as Moscow" (YouTube), defines everything I love about Russian festive brass.

«  Music Audio  0  »


1521. Reed, Henry. "Leading a Dance." Review of Fokine: Memoirs of a Ballet Master, translated by Vitale Fokine. Sunday Telegraph (London), 26 November 1961, 6.
Reed finds Fokine's memoirs "very absorbing and intelligent."


A One, and a Two, and a One-Two-Three

Who gives a fuck about an "Oxford Comma"? (.mp3), by Vampire Weekend. (Via Steamboats Are Ruining Everything.)

«  Music Audio  0  »


1520. Reed, Henry. "Shocked into Life." Review of The Empty Canvas, by Alberto Moravia, translated by Angus Davidson. Sunday Telegraph (London), 19 November 1961, 7.
Of Moravia's most recent novel, Reed says "there is something unquestionably heroic about the whole enterprise."



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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