Brand New Ancients by Kate Tempest
Published by Macmillan Digital Audio
Released 1 January 2013
Running time: 1 hour 20 mins
I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘an audiobook’. I read the paperback at the same time I listened to this.
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
Kate Tempest is one of the most exciting and innovative performers to have emerged in spoken-word poetry in many years; her dramatic poem Brand New Ancients won the prestigious Ted Hughes Prize for innovation in poetry. Tempest’s wholly unique blend of street poetry, rap and storytelling – combined with the spellbinding delivery of an open-air revivalist – has won her legions of followers all over the UK. Her remarkable stage presence is wholly audible in this poem, a spoken story written to be told with live music. Brand New Ancients is the tale of two families and their intertwining lives, set against the background of the city and braided with classical myth. Here, Tempest shows how the old myths still live on in our everyday acts of violence, bravery, sacrifice and love – and that our lives make tales no less dramatic and powerful than those of the old gods.
In the old days the myths were the stories we used to explain ourselves…
WHAT I THOUGHT
I’ve wanted to experience Kate’s work since I read some glowing reviews in The Guardian online. I’m so glad I finally did. Brand New Ancients was bloody amazing. I loved Kate voice reading this poem; she’s a phenomenal performer and would be amazing live. I could have listened to her for many more hours than this short audiobook allowed. Brand New Ancients is one epic poem. It’s one of the best poems I’ve read/heard in a long time. I loved it. I really like Greek Mythology and loved how Kate played around with it, finding examples of ancient God’s in everyday people. 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. Tommy and Clive, half-brothers who don’t know it remind me a little bit of the half-brother’s in my favourite play, Blood Brothers. The fact I read the audio and read a paperback copy of the poem together added to my enjoyment. One thing I noticed it that some of the wording on the audio differs from the printed version, and in most cases the words used on the audio are better. Brand New Ancients is astonishing. I must read and listen to all of Kate’s work now.