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Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest's new long poem written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, is both a powerful sermon and a moving play for voices. Seven neighbors inhabit the same London street, but are all unknown to each other. The clock freezes in the small hours, and one by one we see directly into their lives: lives that are damaged Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest's new long poem written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, is both a powerful sermon and a moving play for voices. Seven neighbors inhabit the same London street, but are all unknown to each other. The clock freezes in the small hours, and one by one we see directly into their lives: lives that are damaged, disenfranchised, lonely, broken, addicted, and all, apparently, without hope. Then a great storm breaks over London, and brings them out into the night to face each other--and their own last chance to connect. Tempest argues that our alienation from one another has bred a terrible indifference to our own fate, but she counters this with a plea to challenge the forces of greed which have conspired to divide us, and mend the broken home of our own planet while we still have time. Let Them Eat Chaos is a cri de cœur and a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year.


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Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest's new long poem written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, is both a powerful sermon and a moving play for voices. Seven neighbors inhabit the same London street, but are all unknown to each other. The clock freezes in the small hours, and one by one we see directly into their lives: lives that are damaged Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest's new long poem written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, is both a powerful sermon and a moving play for voices. Seven neighbors inhabit the same London street, but are all unknown to each other. The clock freezes in the small hours, and one by one we see directly into their lives: lives that are damaged, disenfranchised, lonely, broken, addicted, and all, apparently, without hope. Then a great storm breaks over London, and brings them out into the night to face each other--and their own last chance to connect. Tempest argues that our alienation from one another has bred a terrible indifference to our own fate, but she counters this with a plea to challenge the forces of greed which have conspired to divide us, and mend the broken home of our own planet while we still have time. Let Them Eat Chaos is a cri de cœur and a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year.

30 review for Let Them Eat Chaos

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Kate Tempest, and the publisher, Picador, for this opportunity. There is a raw power in this piece that drew me in from the very first line. The focus is on a freeze-frame of time. Our omniscient and omnipresent protagonist in a nameless and faceless entity swooping into London, from above. Seven individuals are chosen, seemingly at random, and their innermost thoughts, desires and fears are laid bare for t I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Kate Tempest, and the publisher, Picador, for this opportunity. There is a raw power in this piece that drew me in from the very first line. The focus is on a freeze-frame of time. Our omniscient and omnipresent protagonist in a nameless and faceless entity swooping into London, from above. Seven individuals are chosen, seemingly at random, and their innermost thoughts, desires and fears are laid bare for the reader to dissect. We grow to see that these individuals are linked by more than their geographic situation. They are linked by their dissatisfaction with life. And so are we all. From Brexit, to consumerism, to the divided opinions over the stay of illegal immigrants in Britain, Tempest does not shy away from the current political problems plaguing our contemporary times. And she does so by using these seven individuals as the figureheads for divided opinion. The discourse may be difficult to read, on times, with its brutal honesty and obliteration of political correctness, but it is a powerful and original depiction of the 21st Century. These words might be inspired from the city, but they speak on a global scale. Much can be gathered and learned from this piece, no matter of the reader's culture, society or viewpoint on the topics discussed. This acts as a wake-up call for more than the seven unhappy individuals. The reader, too, is invited to shake themselves free from the drudgery and montony of modern living and to see it, and themselves, for what and who they truly are. Gripping, powerful, and poignant; Tempest has undoubtedly found a new fan in me!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Catoblepa (Protomoderno)

    The great fuffa (Italian version below ↓ ) A purely narrative poem which is having a great success in the UK (and across Europe): it focuses on seven characters, at times in the form of a monologue, at times in third person. The narrative pretext is actually quite fascinating: it's 4.18a.m., we are in a street in South London and in that street, at that time of the day, there are seven people who, for one reason or another, are still awake, each in their own flat. The spark which lights the fire, The great fuffa (Italian version below ↓ ) A purely narrative poem which is having a great success in the UK (and across Europe): it focuses on seven characters, at times in the form of a monologue, at times in third person. The narrative pretext is actually quite fascinating: it's 4.18a.m., we are in a street in South London and in that street, at that time of the day, there are seven people who, for one reason or another, are still awake, each in their own flat. The spark which lights the fire, then, is in understanding why those people are not sleeping, but the aim of the poem is that of turning their existence inside out. Nonetheless, it's impossible not to remark how the whole thing is heavily unbalanced, sliding towards two aspects: 1) performative aspect: the text is meant to be declaimed, Tempest herself tells us at the beginning of the book: nice try, but if you don't want a solitary reading, you simply don't print it in book form; I mean, the performative aspect is not an unavoidable flaw, but when it is not controlled and overshadows the poetic dimension, what you are reading may be literature, but it's not good literature for sure. In this case the poetic dimension is weak to say the least: repetitive wording (clearly poorly polished), plain syntax (always!) and minimized figures of speech. The poet is that figure everlastingly working on his/her language: here, if any work has been made, it has been quite superficial. 2) sentimental aspect: namely, characters' feelings always come first, blackmailing the reader: there is no escaping the identification with those characters, not thanks to the qualities of the text, but because of a surplus of exhibited sentiments. However, those are not the main flaws: teenage nihilism is. Everything is black, but this is explained to the reader with a slew of platitudes, clichés and stereotyped characters. All of them invariably bummed out, junkie, disappointed by life and society: a good deal of wannabe Kurt Cobain and wannabe Sarah Kane, endlessly; no one, in that residential street in London, who woke up just to piss, or to fuck, or whatever one could be awake for in his lousy petty bourgeois life without hating it. Examples of platitudes: ---1st EXAMPLE--- Traffic keeps moving, proving there's nothing to do. Coz it's a big business, baby, and its smile is hideous. ---2nd EXAMPLE--- How is this something to cherish? When the tribesmen are dead in their deserts to make room for alien structures? ---3rd EXAMPLE--- It was our boats that sailed, killed, stole and made frail it was our boots that stamped it was our courts that jailed and it was our fucking banks that got bailed. Examples of clichés: ---1st EXAMPLE--- All that is meaningless rules And we have learned nothing from history. ---2nd EXAMPLE--- No trace of love in the hunt for the bigger buck. Here in the land where nobody gives a fuck. ---3rd EXAMPLE--- We die. So others can be born. We age so others can be young. The point of life is live. Love if you can. Then pass it on. ---4th EXAMPLE--- I've walked these streets for all my life they know me like no other. But the streets have changed. I no longer feel them shudder. ---5th EXAMPLE--- Thinking we're engaged when we're pacified Staring at the screen so we don't have to see the planet die. Examples of stereotyped characters: ---1st EXAMPLE--- Before I was an adult, I was a little wreck, pedding whatever I could get my grubby mitts on. Ketamine for breakfast, bad girls for drinking with. ---2nd EXAMPLE--- Across the street, above the green in the flat with colorful curtains Alicia's wrapped in her blankets Had leant back on the wall She's gripping her knees. Looking for purpose. Shaking and nervous. ---3rd EXAMPLE--- Woops. I'm lying in my bed and my brain is eating my head. I got these demons that I can't shake My past is a vast place. Can't get away. ---4th EXAMPLE--- Bradley is awake. He's watching notches on his clock face Just lying there thinking. Limbs like fallen buildings. Feeling like every day he's ever lived is out to kill him. ---5th EXAMPLE--- I hate to think I'll make it to seventy, potentially seventy-five, And realize I've never been alive, and spend the rest of my days regretting, wishing I could be forgetting. It will be noted that the platitudes/clichés elements awfully reminds of Fight Club's narrative manner (and I do not mean that as a compliment). A randomly selected well-known sentence: We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra. Updated to a couple of decades later, with very little variation, and there you have it: a touch of predictable environmentalism, a touch of ready-to-wear socialism, a touch of criticism towards nowadays lifestyles (what's more banal, today, than taking the piss out of the selfie-mania?), a touch of no-sweat feminism so to make departments of gender studies happy (slightly less happy those who read poetry beyond publishing phenomena like this). In Italian we have a word, “fuffa”, to describe those products, persons, works presented as intriguing but then turning out to be nothing interesting. This poem is fuffa. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - La grande fuffa Poema puramente narrativo, che sta avendo grande successo nel Regno Unito (e in tutta Europa); l'azione si concentra su sette personaggi, a volte sotto forma di monologo degli stessi a volte in terza persona. Il pretesto narrativo è in effetti interessante: sono le 4:18 del mattino, siamo in una strada nella zona sud di Londra e in quella strada, a quell'ora, ci sono sette persone che, per un motivo o per l'altro, sono ancora sveglie, ognuna nella propria abitazione. La scintilla che accende il poema, dunque, consisterebbe nel capire il motivo per cui quelle persone sono sveglie, ma il suo obiettivo è quello di sviscerare la loro esistenza. Non si può tuttavia non rimarcare come tutto sia pesantemente squilibrato su due fronti, o meglio due versanti: 1) versante performativo: il testo sarebbe pensato per la recitazione, ci informa anche la Tempest stessa a inizio libro, ma è un trucco, se non si vuole la lettura solitaria non si stampa un libro; non che la dimensione performativa sia necessariamente un difetto, ma quando non viene controllata e sovrasta la dimensione poetica, quello che si ha di fronte forse è letteratura, di sicuro non è buona letteratura. In questo caso la dimensione poetica è inconsistente, con un lessico ripetitivo su cui si è evidentemente poco lavorato, sintassi piana (sempre!) e figure retoriche ridotte al minimo. Il poeta è colui che lavora sempre, costantemente, sul suo linguaggio. Qui, se lavoro c'è stato, è stato approssimativo. 2) versante sentimentale: ovvero i sentimenti dei personaggi sono sempre in primo piano, ricattando così il lettore che è costretto giocoforza all'immedesimazione non per qualità del testo, ma per surplus di sentimenti esplicitati. Ma il difetto principale è un altro: il nichilismo adolescenziale, quello per cui tutto è nero sì, ma ci viene spiegato con una sfilza di ovvietà, frasi fatte e personaggi stereotipati. Tutti immancabilmente depressi, drogati, delusi dalla vita e dalla società: tanti piccoli Kurt Cobain, tante piccole Sarah Kane, all'infinito, manco uno, in quella strada residenziale di Londra, che si sia svegliato semplicemente per pisciare, o che stia scopando, o viva una medissima mediocre vita piccolo-borghese senza odiare la vita stessa. Esempi di ovvietà: ---ESEMPIO 1--- Traffic keeps moving, proving there's nothing to do. Coz it's a big business, baby, and its smile is hideous. ---ESEMPIO 2--- How is this something to cherish? When the tribesmen are dead in their deserts to make room for alien structures? ---ESEMPIO 3--- It was our boats that sailed, killed, stole and made frail it was our boots that stamped it was our courts that jailed and it was our fucking banks that got bailed. Esempi di frasi fatte: ---ESEMPIO 1--- All that is meaningless rules And we have learned nothing from history. ---ESEMPIO 2--- No trace of love in the hunt for the bigger buck. Here in the land where nobody gives a fuck. ---ESEMPIO 3--- We die. So others can be born. We age so others can be young. The point of life is live. Love if you can. Then pass it on. ---ESEMPIO 4--- I've walked these streets for all my life they know me like no other. But the streets have changed. I no longer feel them shudder. ---ESEMPIO 5--- Thinking we're engaged when we're pacified Staring at the screen so we don't have to see the planet die. Esempi di personaggi stereotipati: ---ESEMPIO 1--- Before I was an adult, I was a little wreck, pedding whatever I could get my grubby mitts on. Ketamine for breakfast, bad girls for drinking with. ---ESEMPIO 2--- Across the street, above the green in the flat with colorful curtains Alicia's wrapped in her blankets Had leant back on the wall She's gripping her knees. Looking for purpose. Shaking and nervous. ---ESEMPIO 3--- Woops. I'm lying in my bed and my brain is eating my head. I got these demons that I can't shake My past is a vast place. Can't get away. ---ESEMPIO 4--- Bradley is awake. He's watching notches on his clock face Just lying there thinking. Limbs like fallen buildings. Feeling like every day he's ever lived is out to kill him. ---ESEMPIO 5--- I hate to think I'll make it to seventy, potentially seventy-five, And realize I've never been alive, and spend the rest of my days regretting, wishing I could be forgetting. Il versante ovvietà/frasi fatte, si noterà, ricorda terribilmente la modalità narrativa di Fight Club (e non è un complimento). Una frase famosa a caso: We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra. Aggiornamento a una ventina di anni dopo ma con pochissime variazioni e il gioco è fatto: un po' di ecologismo scontato, un po' di socialismo prêt-à-porter, un po' di critica ai costumi (cosa c'è di più ovvio, oggi, del prendere per il culo chi si fa i selfie?), un po' di femminismo facilotto così da far contenti i dipartimenti di gender studies (un po' meno chi legge poesia al di là di fenomeni editoriali come questo). Fuffa, insomma.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Holly Dunn

    The new Waste Land. Kate Tempest puts into words feelings I've never been able to articulate. I thought it was just me, but it isn't. An unsettling, yet strangely reassuring read. The new Waste Land. Kate Tempest puts into words feelings I've never been able to articulate. I thought it was just me, but it isn't. An unsettling, yet strangely reassuring read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris Geown

    Very lovely and inspiring and soulful read, reads like a more light-hearted contemporary Bukowski, soaked in wine not whisky.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liz Janet

    I first read Tempest last year, with her amazing collection "Hold Your Own", which dealt with sexuality and gender, and I quickly followed it by reading her less brilliant, "Brand New Ancients", a single poem about generations. This one follows the same principle, a long story of the people of today, tired, hopeless, living the best way they can. We follow the struggles of seven people who live in the same building, but don’t know each other, until a storm wedges them together, and their last ho I first read Tempest last year, with her amazing collection "Hold Your Own", which dealt with sexuality and gender, and I quickly followed it by reading her less brilliant, "Brand New Ancients", a single poem about generations. This one follows the same principle, a long story of the people of today, tired, hopeless, living the best way they can. We follow the struggles of seven people who live in the same building, but don’t know each other, until a storm wedges them together, and their last hopes of being understood are presented. “…The people are dead in their lifetimes Dazed in the shine of the streets But look how the traffic’s still moving System’s too slick to stop working…” The truest part of Tempest’s writing comes from her short analysis of the individuals’ own voice. That is where she excels when it comes to her poetry/rap, digging into the mind of the people she presents as characters. Oftentimes I read poetry for the beautiful descriptions of everyday life and issues, but when I read Kate Tempest’s works, as well as other slam poetry, I read them to see how simple everyday people can be brought forth as great examples of the human condition. But I would be lying if I did not say I was disappointed when I read this, it was sub-par when compared to her other poetry collections. I had read many reviews highlighting how fantastic this was, and everyone was saying it was her best work yet, instead, it simply was an okay narrative. I suggest you read her "Hold Your Own" first, which is miles ahead of this, and then if enjoyed, go on and read her other works.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (3.5) This is meant to be read aloud, but I think you can still hear the slam poetry rhythms in your head when reading to yourself. The poet imagines seven disparate people in one London neighborhood, all of whom happen to be awake at 4:18 a.m. as a huge storm (a Tempest?) hits. Moving between their lives and the state of the nation, the poem shows the mess we’ve made of our society and our planet and posits love as the way back to wholeness. Favorite lines: “Rich flats, broke flats. / New flats. (3.5) This is meant to be read aloud, but I think you can still hear the slam poetry rhythms in your head when reading to yourself. The poet imagines seven disparate people in one London neighborhood, all of whom happen to be awake at 4:18 a.m. as a huge storm (a Tempest?) hits. Moving between their lives and the state of the nation, the poem shows the mess we’ve made of our society and our planet and posits love as the way back to wholeness. Favorite lines: “Rich flats, broke flats. / New flats. / Old flats. / Luxury bespoke flats. / And this-has-got-to-be-a-joke flats.” “We clothe the corpse of our culture / parade it as Great Britain, / hark back to dead times and dead thinking / Call on the pillars of dead men / stifled and unloving. / No isle is an island / unsure and divided / just one little clod off the mainland, sinking.” “Life is much broader / than borders / but who can afford / to think over the walls of this fortress. / Of course it’s important / to provide roof and floorboards / for you and yours / and be secure in your fortunes. / But you’re more / than the three or four / you’d go to war for.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    "Picture the world. Older than she ever thought she'd get. She looks at herself as she spins. Arms loaded with the trophies of her most successful child. The pylons and mines, The power-plants shimmer in her still, cool breath. Is that a smile playing across her lips? Or is it a tremor of dread?" This was amazing. Beautiful and perfect. I read it out loud -how this poem was meant- and found Let Them Eat Chaos breathtaking. It is one long poem about seven people living in the same street in London, up a "Picture the world. Older than she ever thought she'd get. She looks at herself as she spins. Arms loaded with the trophies of her most successful child. The pylons and mines, The power-plants shimmer in her still, cool breath. Is that a smile playing across her lips? Or is it a tremor of dread?" This was amazing. Beautiful and perfect. I read it out loud -how this poem was meant- and found Let Them Eat Chaos breathtaking. It is one long poem about seven people living in the same street in London, up at night contemplating their lives. A beautiful monologue about individualism and our inability to look further than our own little bubble. I need to read more Tempest.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    * I was sent this free in exchange for a review from the publisher * This book is definitely designed to be read aloud and that really enhanced my experience of it as I could say the words as they were written and pace it to be dramatic or intense at all the right moments. I don't often read poetry and this is the first poem of this style I've ever read. I was very pleasantly surprised by how very much I enjoyed this and the way that I related to some of the characters, emotions and the isolation * I was sent this free in exchange for a review from the publisher * This book is definitely designed to be read aloud and that really enhanced my experience of it as I could say the words as they were written and pace it to be dramatic or intense at all the right moments. I don't often read poetry and this is the first poem of this style I've ever read. I was very pleasantly surprised by how very much I enjoyed this and the way that I related to some of the characters, emotions and the isolation. It's a sad and yet excited poem because it shows us some of the problems of today and then calls for action. Kate Tempest can definitely write and she's a star at forming current, interesting lines that really relate to this time and to the worries and wonders of our world. I was very very pleased at how much I enjoyed this. 4*s and I'd really recommend it to any poetry novices like me!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Let Them Eat Chaos is one of those books, one of those poems, that everyone should somehow run into, meet, and end up reading at some point, for one reason or another. It should be destined. Condensed in these words resides a truth that could swallow the world into wholeness. ”This poem was written to be read aloud.” As you pronounce each and every word, as you taste them, as you feel them, they become real in you, they become you. The fact that Kate Tempest wrote this, that a fellow human being wr Let Them Eat Chaos is one of those books, one of those poems, that everyone should somehow run into, meet, and end up reading at some point, for one reason or another. It should be destined. Condensed in these words resides a truth that could swallow the world into wholeness. ”This poem was written to be read aloud.” As you pronounce each and every word, as you taste them, as you feel them, they become real in you, they become you. The fact that Kate Tempest wrote this, that a fellow human being wrote this, is hopeful, is hope. Let it be contagious, let it be contagion itself. “wake up and love more”.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Tempest's work bears the same resemblance to poetry as sawdust does to a living tree. Overblown and dull. Tempest's work bears the same resemblance to poetry as sawdust does to a living tree. Overblown and dull.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Harry Whitewolf

    Kate's epic live performance of this on BBC2 was absolutely blinding. She's a much needed poetic voice in contemporary Britain and I can't wait to read this in order to spend more time with the words - but Tempest is as much a performer as she is a poet, so I recommend you watch her perform this first. Puts my own poetry to shame!! :) Kate's epic live performance of this on BBC2 was absolutely blinding. She's a much needed poetic voice in contemporary Britain and I can't wait to read this in order to spend more time with the words - but Tempest is as much a performer as she is a poet, so I recommend you watch her perform this first. Puts my own poetry to shame!! :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy Alice

    Wow. So. I've always had a toe in poetry. I LOVED doing it as a kid, and maintained a lukewarm interest. Then along comes Jen Campbell and her booktube channel and I'm like. I need to give this another go because I love her and she loves poetry. I've had great poems, I've enjoyed beautiful lines, but never really got the whole amazement at a collection. Until. Now. Oh wow. I saw Kate Tempest's opening poem from her Glastonbury set and I immediately loved her, and saw that her latest book of poetry Wow. So. I've always had a toe in poetry. I LOVED doing it as a kid, and maintained a lukewarm interest. Then along comes Jen Campbell and her booktube channel and I'm like. I need to give this another go because I love her and she loves poetry. I've had great poems, I've enjoyed beautiful lines, but never really got the whole amazement at a collection. Until. Now. Oh wow. I saw Kate Tempest's opening poem from her Glastonbury set and I immediately loved her, and saw that her latest book of poetry was a Costa shortlisted book and it was in stock in my indie book shop. I bought it. I read it out loud as is suggested. And before long I was literally performing it to my dogs and crying with joy and fuming with her anger and desperately wanting 85 more copies so I could pass them all on. I'm now chasing this high and have ordered all the poetry.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kassie

    Another one kept around and pawed through for ages, a good fire starter. Reminds me of the time my aunt was trying to comfort me and stop me from crying one time by insulting me over and over, increasingly more ridiculously, so that I would start laughing instead of crying. Sometimes you have to be mean to be kind or to get people back on their feat fighting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maryam

    Quick read, honestly idk I don't think I'm a poetry person really:)) it was alright in my opinion but everyone super loves it:) so idk ladies:) I liked this tho: Is this what I'm doing? I know I exist but I don't feel a thing I'm eclipsed, I'm elsewhere. The worst part is I don't think that I care. Is this all that's ahead of me? I always thought that life would mean more to me eventually. I hate to think I'll make it to seventy, potentially seventy-five, and realise I've never been alive, and spend the rest Quick read, honestly idk I don't think I'm a poetry person really:)) it was alright in my opinion but everyone super loves it:) so idk ladies:) I liked this tho: Is this what I'm doing? I know I exist but I don't feel a thing I'm eclipsed, I'm elsewhere. The worst part is I don't think that I care. Is this all that's ahead of me? I always thought that life would mean more to me eventually. I hate to think I'll make it to seventy, potentially seventy-five, and realise I've never been alive, and spend the rest of my days regretting, wishing I could be forgetting. cause hello es me:))

  15. 4 out of 5

    Luca

    — 3.5 / 5 stars ✨ —

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    This is EVERYTHING. Though its full-force lies in her performance of it (youtube-available live on BBC). My heart.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    Like, a 4.8, but let's round up AS I LOVED IT SO MUCH! It might be one of the best things I've ever read. I think everyone should read this book. That's my go-to answer for that personality question now: everyone should read Let Them Eat Chaos, especially Donald Trump. I also read this right after finishing Children of the New World, and so I was already open to the whole we-need-to-find-a-way-to-take-care-and-love-more-or-we're-fucked mindset. Kate Tempest is so talented and now I want to read Like, a 4.8, but let's round up AS I LOVED IT SO MUCH! It might be one of the best things I've ever read. I think everyone should read this book. That's my go-to answer for that personality question now: everyone should read Let Them Eat Chaos, especially Donald Trump. I also read this right after finishing Children of the New World, and so I was already open to the whole we-need-to-find-a-way-to-take-care-and-love-more-or-we're-fucked mindset. Kate Tempest is so talented and now I want to read everything she's published and see her live. The end.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    I listened to the album on Spotify, and I think that really enhanced my enjoyment. I do think I would enjoy reading this in print, and I also want to listen to the album a couple more times to really get a sense of the language. Really thought-provoking and beautiful upon a first listen.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anna Belkovska

    I want more of this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anna Vaughan

    I don't think there is a single thing that Kate Tempest could write which I wouldn't love I don't think there is a single thing that Kate Tempest could write which I wouldn't love

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Ferrier

    Poetry is still not my forte but I think watching this be performed would be phenomenal. Very powerful.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Molly Cawthorn

    You MUST listen to the album whilst reading this. It's an experience. You MUST listen to the album whilst reading this. It's an experience.

  23. 5 out of 5

    James

    FIRST READ: I'd recommend reading this before you listen to the album, especially if you love Tempest's poetry. I watched the Performance Live show where she read this (to the music) in full, and it was amazing, but I feel like having the music vaguely in my head initially diminished the reading of this. (Although, having said that, it was written to be spoken aloud, so maybe you should listen/watch the poem first, because that's how it's meant to be experienced.) The idea of this book is amazing. FIRST READ: I'd recommend reading this before you listen to the album, especially if you love Tempest's poetry. I watched the Performance Live show where she read this (to the music) in full, and it was amazing, but I feel like having the music vaguely in my head initially diminished the reading of this. (Although, having said that, it was written to be spoken aloud, so maybe you should listen/watch the poem first, because that's how it's meant to be experienced.) The idea of this book is amazing. Obviously it works as a call to action for society, but its study of characters in one minute and their internal thoughts is great, and I'm really glad Tempest did this. The idea is the perfect union of the two main aspects of her work - society and emotional nuance. This is a powerful and effective poem, but not without its problems on the page. As I approached the second half of the book, the memory of the album began to fade, meaning that the words and their structure on the page became more evident. Sometimes Tempest's observations seem a little cliche or a little obvious - they appear to be there for rhythm and impact rather than meaning. The layout on the page doesn't always work, but sometimes it brings surprises, offering new impact to phrases, and especially suiting the more narrative sections. I definitely need to reread this book when I've not listened to the album for a while, but on this reading it appeared that its a book of two halves. The 'songs' of the book, and indeed of the album, work better spoken. They sound amazing, and the force with which Tempest performs them is, as expected, quite something. Although the page does sometimes bring new benefits to them, the words feel much more effective when rapped. The 'narrative' sections of the poem - moments where we meet the characters, and watch them from outside - suit the page perfectly. The scene where the characters gather outside in the rain works much better on the page, and the Picture a Vacuum section is structured very well here. This is Tempest at her finest - nuanced character observation, expertly conveyed. That's not to say that the 'songs' don't have elements of this too, but when they do, it comes across better with the music. Ultimately, despite the occasional dodgy generalisation or cliched criticism of modern society, this is a powerful poem that was written to inspire, and will, especially when listened to. It's not as consistently refined as Hold Your Own is, in terms of its observations, but this is a spoken word poem. Here, it's been tailored for the page, and you will get more from some of it this way, but ultimately, nothing beats Tempest's performance. That's when this poem truly comes to life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Seven strangers awake in the early hours of the morning contemplate their situation in life while others in the city sleep. A storm is brewing in this frozen moment in time and as the clock moves forward again it starts to rain. Kate Tempest’s new long poem calls for its readers to also wake up and see what is happening around them, to join together to change things rather than remaining isolated and ignoring the problems in the world. It’s a powerful message but not one that feels alienating or Seven strangers awake in the early hours of the morning contemplate their situation in life while others in the city sleep. A storm is brewing in this frozen moment in time and as the clock moves forward again it starts to rain. Kate Tempest’s new long poem calls for its readers to also wake up and see what is happening around them, to join together to change things rather than remaining isolated and ignoring the problems in the world. It’s a powerful message but not one that feels alienating or too pushy. Tempest blends contemporary issues with the people they affect. The individual voices within the poem are linked to the wider problems she wants her readers to address and wake up to. She asks us to not ‘dismiss all its victims [of war] as strangers’ but to love, ‘wake up and love more.’ She has been compared to Ginsberg and Eliot for the importance of her poetic message but don’t let this scare you away. If you don’t read poetry then Tempest is a great place to start, her words are accessible, and the meaning is easy to understand but at the same time not simplistic. This poem asks the reader to challenge the forces of greed that made our world as it is but it isn’t a challenge to read it. In fact it’s a joy and as suggested in the beginning of the book, it should be read aloud. As it is one long poem it’s best read in one sitting, so set aside an hour and find somewhere you can read this aloud.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    RE-READ JANUARY 2018: By accident, I discovered that the album where Kate Tempest performs this poem and added music is on Spotify so I listened to it and read along and that added a whole new layer to this book. I'm so thrilled. It was really interesting to read this in a bit of a different way to when I first read it because now I could hear how Kate reads it and there were some differences between the text and the album so that was... just really cool, basically. I loved it. ORIGINAL REVIEW MAR RE-READ JANUARY 2018: By accident, I discovered that the album where Kate Tempest performs this poem and added music is on Spotify so I listened to it and read along and that added a whole new layer to this book. I'm so thrilled. It was really interesting to read this in a bit of a different way to when I first read it because now I could hear how Kate reads it and there were some differences between the text and the album so that was... just really cool, basically. I loved it. ORIGINAL REVIEW MARCH 2017: Another poetry book, I know. I have never read a Kate Tempest book before but I have seen several people talking about her so I thought I give it a go. Good decision!!! Kate Tempest writes about seven people living in London, all living on the same street, all had different stories and problems that keep them from sleeping. We learn about all these stories and thoughts and in the end, those people meet outside during a storm. She - or the characters - criticise London, society, capitalism, and so much more and that's GREAT. I love reading stuff like that! This book certainly made me gasp sometimes. I love how the poem is displayed! I think it's hard to describe but you really have to jump around on the page and the text is always on different sides and that is really cool. I really enjoyed reading this, I just wish it was a bit longer because I feel like there could have been more about the meeting on the street.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hall's Bookshop

    Already comparisons are being drawn with the Waste Land - but I would hesitate, as I think that would do disservice to both works. They share a space, but where Eliot's poem is a heap of broken images, Tempest's is a plotted narrative of connection. Tempest's poem is emphatically not modernist, even if it may look it on the page. Built around city life - specifically, very heavily invested in London 'and all the gods from all those places who taught me everything I know', as she put it in Brand Already comparisons are being drawn with the Waste Land - but I would hesitate, as I think that would do disservice to both works. They share a space, but where Eliot's poem is a heap of broken images, Tempest's is a plotted narrative of connection. Tempest's poem is emphatically not modernist, even if it may look it on the page. Built around city life - specifically, very heavily invested in London 'and all the gods from all those places who taught me everything I know', as she put it in Brand New Ancients- it weaves a story around seven characters, and I recognised parts of myself in at least three. Greatly enjoyed, but then I do read a lot of dystopia. My recommendation would be to read it first, then listen to the album recording - but definietly to do both. It's a bravura performance.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ken French

    Kate Tempest is the writer who has had the biggest impact on me this year. Her novel, her poetry, her recordings have all been in regular play. This, her latest, is an introspective look at seven Londoners at 4:18 am as their lives are examined and eventually intertwine. And it struck me on the third listen to the accompanying album, that Tempest is, in her way, the George Orwell of her time. Shining a strong, vibrant light on British (and human) society in order for her people to have a better Kate Tempest is the writer who has had the biggest impact on me this year. Her novel, her poetry, her recordings have all been in regular play. This, her latest, is an introspective look at seven Londoners at 4:18 am as their lives are examined and eventually intertwine. And it struck me on the third listen to the accompanying album, that Tempest is, in her way, the George Orwell of her time. Shining a strong, vibrant light on British (and human) society in order for her people to have a better understanding of themselves. And since Orwell is a favorite of mine, I'm glad to add her to the upper echelon of writers who I admire. I can't recommend her writing (and her records) highly enough. Brilliant.

  28. 4 out of 5

    C. Varn

    Kate Tempest is a performance poet liked with teen and young adult nihilism in many ways given her subject matter generally being young people partying. Yet even when "Let Them Eat Chaos" was performed and written, Tempest was in late 20s/early 30s. Furthermore, the conceit of the poem about seven strangers in London being forced to confront each other in the early hours of the morning during a storm in London does speak to youthful alienation but of a different variety than merely the partying Kate Tempest is a performance poet liked with teen and young adult nihilism in many ways given her subject matter generally being young people partying. Yet even when "Let Them Eat Chaos" was performed and written, Tempest was in late 20s/early 30s. Furthermore, the conceit of the poem about seven strangers in London being forced to confront each other in the early hours of the morning during a storm in London does speak to youthful alienation but of a different variety than merely the partying 20s. Tempest's sentimentality and strong aural aspects can be distancing on the page, but her understanding of the millennial anxiety and alienation seems sincerely and realistically inhabited. My high school students in America strongly relate to it despite being younger than Tempest's characters or herself. That said, Tempest's framework as everyperson's new Wasteland can be trope that she seems to overexplore in these long poems and one wishes that she would inhabit less ennui or more specificity in future works.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Jones

    I have never listened or read any spoken-word poetry and after hearing a review of this on Youtube, I thought I'd listen to it on Spotify. I've heard some great things about Kate Tempest as a poet and I am wanting to give more poetry a go. This album of spoken-word poetry includes music which really helped with the rhythm and my enjoyment of the poetry, though it sometimes hindered me from remembering the words themselves. Overall the album and poems created a great atmosphere and discussed a wide I have never listened or read any spoken-word poetry and after hearing a review of this on Youtube, I thought I'd listen to it on Spotify. I've heard some great things about Kate Tempest as a poet and I am wanting to give more poetry a go. This album of spoken-word poetry includes music which really helped with the rhythm and my enjoyment of the poetry, though it sometimes hindered me from remembering the words themselves. Overall the album and poems created a great atmosphere and discussed a wide range of topics, specifically the environment, that I wasn't expecting. I did enjoy the experience but would be interested in reading a physical copy at some point because I think I'd retain and understand it a little more upon a reread. This was a great introduction to the spoken-word style of poetry and I'm glad I tried it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I read this whilst listening to the album. I am quite visually focussed so thought I'd see how reading and listening together worked for me. And it worked well. I'm not great with poetry. I'm a bit intimidated by it I think. But I found this quite accessible. Especially when the poet is reading it to me whilst I follow along. And some really lovely use of language in there. It is also full of observations about the time in which we live. Interesting stuff. I look forward to seeing her perform it I read this whilst listening to the album. I am quite visually focussed so thought I'd see how reading and listening together worked for me. And it worked well. I'm not great with poetry. I'm a bit intimidated by it I think. But I found this quite accessible. Especially when the poet is reading it to me whilst I follow along. And some really lovely use of language in there. It is also full of observations about the time in which we live. Interesting stuff. I look forward to seeing her perform it live next month as part of the Brighton Festival

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