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Summary

New poetry from a fiercely talented, Ted Hughes Award-winning poet.

Kate Tempest's first full-length collection for Picador is an ambitious, multi-voiced work based around the mythical figure of Tiresias. This four-part work follows him through his transformations from child, man, and woman to blind prophet; through this structure, Tempest holds up a mirror to contemporary life in a direct and provocative way rarely associated with poetry.

A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit. Brand New Ancients, also available from Picador, won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and has played to packed concert halls on both sides of the Atlantic.

©2014 Kate Tempest (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Critic reviews

"Hold Your Own is intellectually as well as emotionally exhilarating, yet unafraid to challenge the purveyors of wilful obscurity . . . With her poems about change and growth and passion, this girl is going places – and I’ll be glad to go with her." ( Daily Mail)
"Her reworking of the Tiresias myth has all of the form’s virtues . . . a powerful immediacy . . ." ( Belfast Telegraph)
"Her opening poem here is the longest, an updating of the story of Tiresias, and is both politically and emotionally stark, while the rest explore the human passion with a refreshing toughness." ( Sunday Herald)
"Tempest collection feels like a game-changer. Tempest has forged her own voice, unlike anything else in the mainstream poetry world . . ." ( The Independent on Sunday)
"What makes her work so irresistible, then, is her method of synthesis; the manner in which she brings her hands together. Her poems aren’t simply routine retellings of timeworn tales; rather, she picks up the fabulous, familiar characters, dusts them down and hauls them into the present . . . remarkable, powerful collection . . . These are acute and insightful poems that lodge in the ear and sear themselves on the vision." ( The Guardian)
"There are lots of things that make her special, but one of those things is that she produced a really powerful sequence of work, a sustained tour de force. Lots of people can write a good poem, but with her it’s the scale of ambition and the determination. That takes a lot. That’s dedication. And her ability to defy categorisation is a strength . . .A good writer can do different things, they can write lots of things . . . to me, I don’t mind where someone sits. There can be many chairs." (Judith Palmer the Director of The Poetry Society, The Guardian)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A riveting collection of poems

Hold Your Own was awesome to listen to, almost as amazing as her collection Brand New Ancients.

I loved how the poems in this collection blend myth and legend with contemporary issues and ideas. This makes for some entertaining and highly original poetry. Tempest does something similar with Brand New Ancients and she’s good at it.

Reading the poems is hugely enjoyable but Tempest’s work is designed to be listened to. I cannot stress this enough. Listen to Hold Your Own and be transported somewhere incredible. I love Tempest’s voice. I would kill to see her perform live.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Patrick
  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • 19-01-18

Raw and sublimely lyrical

Kate Tempest's verse is clever, lyrical and a sharp as a razor blade. For people who think poetry is prissy and irrelevant - take this!