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Hold your own

Hold your own

Tempest, Kate, author

Hold Your Own, 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

Paperback, Book. English.
Published London: Picador, 2014

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Details

Statement of responsibility: Kate Tempest
ISBN: 1447241215, 9781447241218, 9781447241225
Note: Formerly CIP.
Physical Description: 107 pages ; 20 cm
Subject: Tiresias (Greek mythology) Poetry.
Other formats: Also issued online.

Author note

Kate Tempest writes rhymes, lyrics, poems, prose and plays. She began at sixteen, rapping in battles across London, and began performing spoken word at the age of twenty-one. She has performed her writing on stages all over the world, as well as playing all the major UK and European music festivals, including Glastonbury. She has written poems for Barnado's children's charity, the BBC, Amnesty International, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Turner Prize winning artist Chris Offili. She is two times poetry slam winner at the prestigious Nu-Yorican poetry cafe in New York. She has supported legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke and supported Billy Bragg on his Leftfield in Motion UK tour with her band Sound of Rum. Her published work, Brand New Ancients won the Ted Hughes Prize for innovation in poetry.

Reviews

One of the brightest British talents around. [Tempest's] 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
Guardian||[Tempest] enjoyed a remarkable double triumph in being shotlisted for the Mercury Music Prize on the same day as being named a Next Generation Poet
Guardian||In mesmerising rhyme and galloping rhythm, her passion for the classics collides with urban street slang, social observation, consumerism and the concerns of contemporary youth
Observer||Kate Tempest proves poetry has a place in pop . . . [Tempest] has made history, transcending the line between poetry and music
Telegraph||Poet, performer, novelist: the rise of the uncategorisable Kate Tempest
Guardian||Tempest's voice looks to be one we will be hearing for some while to come
Guardian||Dazzling wordsmithery. . . As anyone who has seen her perform will know, she doesn't just paint pictures with words when she performs, she paints fireworks in the night sky
Metro||A winning wielder of words. . . The common thread through Tempest's diverse work is her love of words. In mesmerising rhyme and galloping rhythm, her passion for the classics collides with urban street slang, social observation, consumerism and the concerns of contemporary youth
Observer||The picture emerges of a diverse, fluid writer and performer who is spreading her wings anew
Press (York)||Hold Your Own is a collection of discrete, sometimes startlingly intimate moments by turns tender, funny, and angry. . . among the warmest moments in the collection are those that celebrate this particular, catalytic thrill - of the instant when words are not just lived, but delivered
Skinny||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
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
Independent on Sunday||Tempest follows her Ted Hughes Prize-winning Brand New Ancients with a bold retelling of the myth of Tiresias. In a voice at once inviting and challenging, erudite and incongruous, the 28-year-old south Londoner confirms her position as one of literature's most remarkable millennials
Financial Times||Hold Your Own sees her stepping into the world of traditional "slim volume verse," publishing a book of poems to be read as well as heard. And she steps in with style . . . The contrast between the wasteground filled with shopping trolleys and used condoms and the miraculous transformation is dramatic and comic and moving . . . Either in person or on the page, she shows she's got sharp, important things to say and the poetic skills to say them
Morning Star||Like the great Philip Larkin, Ms. Tempest has an ability to write about big, metaphysical subjects in the most vernacular language, while conjuring a sense of contemporary English life with a handful of chiseled lines . . .She demonstrates a knack - in both "Brand New Ancients" and "Hold Your Own" - for being able to shuttle easily back and forth between the mundane and the mythic, the banal and philosophical, and for using her pictorial imagination to sear specific images into the reader's mind
New York Times

Back cover copy

Kate Tempest, winner of the Ted Hughes Prize 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: 'childhood', 'manhood', 'womanhood' and 'blind profit'. The result is a rhythmically hypnotic tour de force - and a hugely ambitious leap forward for one of the UK's most talented and compelling young writers.

An audio download of Tempest's spellbinding performance of Hold Your Own is also available.