Reed, Henry

(1914-1986)
   Born in Birmingham, the son of a master bricklayer, and educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Birmingham, he won the Temperley Latin prize and a scholarship to Birmingham University. He graduated with a first-class degree (1934) and an M.A. for a thesis on the novels of Thomas Hardy (1936). He became a freelance writer and critic, then served for one year in the Army. Following severe pneumonia and convalescence he was transferred to the Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchley Park, where he was a cryptographer and Japanese translator. After the war he worked for the BBC as a radio broadcaster and playwright, where his most memorable set of productions was the Hilda Tablet series in the 1950s. His most famous poem, "Naming of Parts," is a witty parody of army basic training. It was published in 1946 in A Map of Verona, his only collection to be published within his lifetime. He died at St. Charles Hospital, Kensington. Some of his other poems: "Chard Whitlow," "Chrysothemis," "Lessons of the War," "Sailor's Harbor," "The Auction Sale," "The Château," "The Door and the Window."
   Sources: Modern British Poetry. 7th rev. ed. Louis Untermeyer, ed. Harcourt, Brace, 1962. Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950. David Cecil and Allen Tate, eds. Macmillan, 1967. Poemhunter (www.poemhunter.com). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Faber Book of Comic Verse. Michael Roberts and Janet Adam Smith, eds. Faber and Faber, 1978. The Harvill Book of Twentieth-Century Poetry in English. Michael Schmidt, ed. The Harvill Press, 1999. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Poetry of Henry Reed (http://www.solearabiantree.net/namingofparts/home.html). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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