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"Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed

336 of 1160 nominations


"Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed

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"Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed

Henry Reed's poem, "Naming of Parts," is arguably the "the most widely quoted and anthologised single poem written in the Second World War" (Vernon Scannell), and has "entered the collective folk-memory" (William Scammell). Many people can quote the poem ("For today we have naming of parts..." "Which you have not got...") without even knowing its source. According to the poet and critic Ian Hamilton, Reed's "Naming of Parts" is "good-humoured, funny, sexy and resigned," and "captures perfectly the period's strange mix of tedium and fear."

Steve Blaiklock


Your comments

I first heard this poem when I was at school in Liverpool (Merchant Taylors) in 1962 and the Old Vic Company were visiting the Playhouse. My English teacher had managed to persuade several actors to come to read their favorite poems to the 6th form. I was so totally capitivated by this poem that it there and then made me decide to read English at university (a large, but attainable, ambition for a girl) and then being an English Lit teacher. I realised both ambitions and have had the pleasure of introducing many young people to this exceptional poem.
Brenda Boyd

We read this at school, and it reminded me so much of myself, actually doing one thing, but observing nature and what was going on around me, when I was supposed to be learning English.
Rosemary Ralph

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I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye