Author(s): Kate Tempest
My heart throws its head against my ribs, / it's denting every bone it's venting something it has known since I arrived and felt it beat.
Kate Tempest, winner of the Ted Hughes Award for Brand New Ancients and widely regarded as the UK's leading spoken word poet, has produced a new poem-sequence of electrifying power. Based on the myth of the blind prophet Tiresias, Hold Your Own is a riveting tale of youth and experience, sex and love, wealth and poverty, community and alienation. Walking in the forest one morning, a young man disturbs two copulating snakes-and is punished by the goddess Hera, who turns him into a woman. This is only the beginning of his journey . . . Weaving elements of classical myth, autobiography and social commentary, Tempest uses the story of the gender-switching, clairvoyant Tiresias to create four sequences of poems, addressing childhood, manhood, womanhood, and late life. The result is a rhythmically hypnotic tour de force-and a hugely ambitious leap forward for one of the most broadly talented and compelling young writers today.
One of the brightest British talents around. Her spoken-word performances have the metre and craft of traditional poetry, the kinetic agitation of hip-hop and the intimacy of a whispered heart-to-heart . . . drawing on ancient mythology and sermonic cadence to tell stories of the everyday. "The Guardian" Gorgeous streams of words . . . Image after image that sears itself into your consciousness . . . Ms. Tempest stitches together words with such animate grace that language acquires an almost tactile quality, and the drama she unfolds . . . soars to operatic dimensions. Christopher Isherwood, " New York Times" on" Brand New Ancients""
Kate Tempest grew up in southeast London and started rapping when she was sixteen years old. She has had a varied career as a poet, playwright, rapper, and recording artist. She has released a spoken-word album; a multimedia project "Everything Speaks in its Own Way; "and a recording album, "Balance," with her band Sound of Rum." "Her solo record, "Everybody Down --" a concept album featuring characters who will return in her debut novel, " The Bricks That Build the Houses "(Bloomsbury, Winter 16) -- is shortlisted for the 2014 Mercury Prize. She is a two-time winner of the poetry slam at the Nu Yorican Poetry Cafe, and has received poetry commissions from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC. Her narrative poem "Brand New Ancients," conceived as a performance piece, won the Ted Hughes Award in 2012, and will be published alongside "Hold Your Own, "her first collection." "In 2014, Tempest was selected as one of this decade's 20 Next Generation Poets from the UK and Ireland.