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Jeremy Reed Biography

(1951– ), Bleecker Street, By the Fisheries, Nero, Selected Poems, Nineties, Red-Haired Android

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: David Rabe Biography to Rhinoceros (Rhinocéros)

British poet, born in Jersey, educated at Essex University. Bleecker Street (1980), his first substantial collection, established acute observation, imaginative range, and literary allusion as essential characteristics of his poetry. By the Fisheries (1984) and Nero (1985) brought him prominence among younger British poets, initiating controversy over the merits of his verse; Kathleen Raine declared him to be ‘the most imaginatively gifted poet since Dylan Thomas’, while others saw his work as technically glib and repetitive in its dramatizations of his sensitivities. Further volumes of his poetry include Selected Poems (1987), Nineties (1990), Red-Haired Android (1992), and Black Sugar: Trisexual Poems (1992), with drawings by Jean Cocteau. Reed's eclecticism is such that rock music and eighteenth-century poetry are equally available to him as material for poems. Among his other writings are the novels Blue Rock (1987), Red Eclipse (1989), and When the Whip Comes Down (1992), a novel about de Sade. Madness: The Price of Poetry (1989) is a study of mental imbalance in the lives and works of various poets. Lipstick, Sex, and Poetry (1991) is an autobiography. Remarkably prolific, his publications in 1994 included two novels (Chasing Black Rainbows and Diamond Nebula), two collections of poems (Pop Stars and Kicks), and a biography of the rock star Lou Reed (Waiting for the Man).

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