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Brand New Ancients

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Tempest sings of the extraordinary contained within the ordinary in language that is sometimes elevated but more often the vernacular used by the characters she has created. If you're up for a verse novel that's really good - a lot more demanding than this, but well worth it - try Anthony Burgess's "Byrne". I don't particularly want to discourage others from reading, just don't expect what I expected based on the other works I mentioned. Beyond that, the through narrative is utterly devoid of originality and reads like a social services manual.

The poems tell a connected set of stories, intended somewhat as old myths recast as stories of regular, flawed modern people.I've never, in some seriousness, felt the absence of international socialism, or failing that just some vision or abstraction or sense of possibility, more. Kae Tempest is one of the most exciting and innovative performers to have emerged in spoken-word poetry in many years; their dramatic poem Brand New Ancients won the prestigious Ted Hughes Prize for innovation in poetry. Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients pushes the idea of what poetry can be, telling a complete story through verse rather than serving as a collection of individual poems.

Kate Tempest is also skilled at evoking complete scenes from rather minimalist descriptions and at creating vivid imagery. We can recognise the events which lead to these outcomes, and this could give us the tools and the insight to change the narrative to make the best of what could be a bad situation. Tempest ci racconta la vita, l'amore, la monotonia, la banalità e il male in una chiave inedita e irresistibile.They received the Ted Hughes Award for their long-form narrative poem Brand New Ancients and the Leone D’Argento at the Venice Teatro Biennale for their work as a playwright. It tells the story of normal people the reader could easily identify with, their stories contrasted against the idea that they have the importance of Gods and are more than the roles they’ve been given by society. I think I never reviewed that collection; suffice it to say that I enjoyed it, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this review. It took a bit of adjusting to Kate's voice, but its a helluva story - really poignant in places, and a bit upsetting at the climax.

Winner of the Ted Hughes Prize for innovation in poetry, Kae Tempest’s Brand New Ancients plays with mythology to tell the story of young people in modern times as their lives spiral out of control. Tempest’s work as a rapper is clear, and I think Brand New Ancients works best read aloud to really appreciate the work that has gone into crafting this poem. The main story running through the poem, telling the story of a group of young people growing up in modern times, one the product of an affair, one unloved by his father, getting in trouble, their lives spiralling out of control and becoming more violent is brilliantly executed.

The long poem chronicles the story of two families in south London and explores everyday heroism, family life, working-class life, the human condition, and myth. We’re proud to share the words of our staff, volunteers and placement students and we hope you enjoy reading their thoughts.

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