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Brand New Ancients

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,524 ratings  ·  208 reviews
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.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Picador (first published January 1st 2013)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  1,524 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was drawn to this narrative poem by the cover – Ancient Greeks toting briefcases and smart phones. That’s right down my alley. I understand Ms. Tempest is an accomplished musician as well as a poet, and this short book has a lyrical, musical quality. The preface notes that it is to be read aloud. I can see why. The tone and performance elements remind me of the Beat poetry of the 1950s and 60s. “Winged sandals tearing up the pavement” is a line that one can imagine from Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Jenny (Reading Envy)
Kate Tempest has been on my list of poets/playwrights/writers to try for a while now, and I'm not even sure why other than her name sounding vaguely Shakespearean. So I was just not expecting what I found! Kate started her writing as a rapper outside London, and that comes across in word choice, rhythm, and the way the poems scream for performance. Just picture her words in a female version of Ed Sheeran's voice and you're almost there... although he's quite a bit milder than she is.

This book is
Michael Meeuwis
This is some seriously shitty poetry wrapped around an ethical problem. I fear the culture industry in this country is about to eat Kate Tempest on toast, because she does a lot of things the country at large sort of wants to do: be edgy in a nondescript post Guy Ritchie kind of way, think about foreign countries only when they can sort of be used by British people, and kind of tamp down any possibility for meaningful change. When the narrator announces that, in this world, "There are no clear-c ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
cliche poetry: best read with roommate when drunk on a Thursday.
Michael Finocchiaro
This is a wonderful collection of poetry from a brilliant and talented writer. Check her music out as well - she is an original rap singer too. i can definitely see why she got a Hughes prize and was so highly praised at SXSW 2014. Check her out! (Concert in Paris 28-10-16 @ La Gaîté Lyrique)
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Tempest is a former rapper and this story poem has a great swing and rhythm to it. The story of all of us, it is also the story of infidelity and the children born from it. Two brothers who don't know they're related.

We're all gods-we've just forgotten it. Divinity is in all of us-or maybe we're in it. 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. But what magic s
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Amazing. Almost life changing. No, scratch that. Life Changing.

If this is what poetry can be, then poetry is about to come back in a big way.

I can not stress enough the fact that this book is to be read aloud, as Tempest invites.

Easily read it in one sitting. Probably could read it again.

Honest, insightful, heart wrenching, fun, philosophical, angry, inspired, revolutionary, hopeful, ironic, and pragmatic all with an internal rhythm that you can't help but be pulled along into.

If you find your
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm well impressed with this one, reminds me at times of Ginsberg's Howl, the short lines, long lines and repetition give you a feeling of constantly changing direction. Moments of talking about Gods almost make it fell like the poem is reaching a crescendo.

Most impressive though is how it tells a story, draws you in and makes you forget that you are reading a poem. Great bunch of characters and interesting to read/watch as Kate Tempest plays God with their lives.

I've seen Kate Tempest performin
Liz Janet
There is much to love in this poem, here are some of it:

"In the old days
The myths were the stories we used to explain ourselves.
But how can we explain the way we hate ourselves,
the things we've made ourselves into..."

"We are still permanently trapped somewhere between the heroic and the pitiful.
We are still godly;
that's what makes us monstrous."

"We are perfect because of our imperfections.
We must stay hopeful;
We must stay patient -
because when they excavate the modern day
they'll find us: th
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know people have very subjective understandings of what is "good" or "bad" poetry, so I don't want to be stepping on anyone's toes. Honestly, I thought Tempest's Brand New Ancients was more mediocre than anything else. I might have enjoyed this better had I watched a performance of it, but I'm not even sure about that. Pity, I like the idea, but this was just not for me... Yeah, let's go with that.
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
A fantastic poem, listened to it on audio but was very depressed afterwards, totally devoid of hope.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had heard about this and loved other such Ancient-Modern fusion stuff like some of Gaiman's works or Alice Oswald's Memorial or Atwood's the Penelopiad or Anders Nilsen's Rage of Poseidon, etc.

In short, this one doesn't really do a good job of living up to the whole Ancient/Modern mash-up because it really just uses the idea of the gods as a mask. There's no real depth to it. There were gods in ancient times, now we are the gods in modern times. The fact that it didn't deliver on this pretty m
Andy Tischaefer
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One note up front - while I am sure that the prose is powerful on the page alone, I listened to the audio production. Kate Tempest reading her own work, backed by musicians. Really, really cool, and I would recommend it to everyone.

Stumbled into this after discovering Kate Tempest's music (which is also well worth seeking out). I do not generally seek out poetry as a genre but if this is what I have been missing, I need to find more.

The poems tell a connected set of stories, intended somewhat as
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Tempest has an excellent ear for rhyme and this single long poem has flow and flair. I'll read the next thing she publishes if she's so lucky. But this is an imperfect project. Mostly, in that it does not live up to its premise of finding the godlike in quotidian contemporary life. She's doesn't match the ancient to the new. Beyond that, the through narrative is utterly devoid of originality and reads like a social services manual. Now, we are informed at the beginning that this is poetry meant ...more
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Perfect. Shoves itself right in there with the contemporary canon. I read this out loud in its entirety (sitting outside on the porch, lying on a bed, waiting for the potatoes to boil in the kitchen, sitting on the couch after dinner), and parts of the poem made me raise my voice and speed up, unintentionally. An oddly transcendent reading experience.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I cannot imagine reading this and not having some boulder in your soul dislodge from its place in its wall and make you stand up so it can properly fall.

Holy shit. I think it is a romantic noncomedy, rapped, in print. I wept because I cared about everybody. And everybody loses/wins.
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2017
kate tempest has written a sort of epic poem, intertwining the lives of two couples and their kids as they grow up. i was reminded that kate tempest writes songs as well, as the lines had rhyme and sound. quite good and interesting, and easy to read.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not my favourite of her poems but Kate Tempest has an incredible way of creating characters you feel for and a world so full in such a short form.
Eloise Mcallister
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read this while feeling really bleak and it somehow made feel like everything isn't totally shit
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I don't know that I 'get' Kate Tempest. I really liked some of the parts in this, and had it kept with that I would have probably loved this.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75. Beautiful and thought-provoking as always.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very little pages and very little words, yet a beautiful story about two generations. Beautiful and touching. I liked it a little bit less then Let Them Eat Chaos, but it was still amazing. O, and that cover; Ancient Greek characters holding cigarettes and iPods; awesome.
Simon Sweetman
I particularly love Tempest's book-length poetic works, I feel like putting on my best Nigel Tufnel voice and shouting about how you can hear the sustain...
Ana Isabel  Cardoso
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked most of it, very beautiful and romantic images along with extreme violence. Void and hope. Long lasting images and sounds even after having read it all. Unforgettable...
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The stories are there if you listen.
The stories are here.
The stories are you
and your fear and your hope is as old
as the language of smoke,
the language of blood,
the language of languishing love,
the Gods are all here.
Because the Gods are in us."

This is more a story-poem than a straight poetry collection but the story or stories are all compelling and her prose is beautiful.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook. The performance was fantastic.
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am of two minds: I am thoroughly enamoured of the ideas and the execution but not so much with the somewhat cliche (by design) plot. I love the idea of modern familial relationships echoing tragic dynasties, but each plot point seemed to hit on every possible working class stereotype. But I did read it aloud and the text is so delicious that I would forgive it a range of sins.
Ben McFarland
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one long poem by Kate Tempest based on modern gods in general rather than what she did in Hold Your Own, where many poems focused on one figure in specific, Tiresias. I followed her directions this time and read it aloud to myself, which took only an hour and brought out the colors of Tempests' internal rhymes and unexpected rhythms. Tempest's language is musical and even Homeric.

As for what she's really saying with her language, the closest thematic analogue I can think of is Neil Gaima
After hearing Kate Tempest read her poetry aloud, reading "Brand New Ancients" as words on a page was disappointing.

Having said that, even without her passionate delivery imbuing each word with honesty and heft, there are sublime aspects to this extended composition. While I enjoyed the set-up, the narrative didn't quite deliver on the promise. The Brand New Ancients could not live up to their predecessors. The pedestrian problems of the main cast members failed to live up to the myths invoked.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm fairly certain Kate Tempest is a genius. I love her music and have been wanting to read some of her poetry for a while. This was written to be performed, and as you read it you can't help but hear it in Kate's voice - where she'd pause and the phrases she would stress. I would love to see her live sometime.

If you're not into poetry, but you like a good story, give it a go - I highly recommend it.

As a card-carrying booknerd I'm delighted and super-excited to hear that she has a novel coming o
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Kate Tempest started out when she was 16, rapping at strangers on night buses and pestering MCs to let her on the mic at raves. Ten years later she is a published playwright, novelist, poet and respected recording artist. Her work includes Balance, her first album with band Sound of Rum; Everything Speaks in its Own Way her first collection of poems, the critically acclaimed plays Wasted, Glasshou ...more
“Millions of characters, each with their own epic narratives singing it’s hard to be an angel until you’ve been a demon.” 6 likes
“there’s always been heroes,
there’s always been villains,
the stakes may have changed
but really there’s no difference.

there’s always been greed
and heartbreak and ambition.
jealousy, love,
trespass and contrition,

we’re the same beings that began,
still living,
in all of our fury and foulness and friction.
Everyday odysseys.
Dreams vs decisions.
The stories are there if you listen.”
More quotes…