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Hold Your Own

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  3,333 ratings  ·  394 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 111 pages
Published October 9th 2014 by Picador (first published October 1st 2014)
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Julia Ledra Yes, it's in the "Childhood" part of the book :)…moreYes, it's in the "Childhood" part of the book :)(less)

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Jean Menzies
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book of poetry blew me away. I smiled throughout and on occasion I cried. Structured around Tempests' modern interpretation of the Greek myth of Tiresias this book hosts a collection of poems on gender, age and love. Her writing is beautiful and her words poignant. She managed to voice what I'm sure are feelings many of us have experienced with a universality and simplicity I wish I could accomplish myself.

Whether you can't get enough poetry or have never read a poem in your life I'd urge y
...more
Liz Janet
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Language lives when you speak it. Let it be heard.
The worst thing that can happen to words if they go unsaid....
Sometimes things are as simple as they seem.
It is as much about instinct as it is intellect....
The world is getting stranger every day; you're not strange for noticing.
You don't have to be young to be good at what you do. You just have to be good at it...
The pain of having fucked up things up so bad will never leave us...
If you've been an arsehole today, acknowledge it.
Try not to b
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The framework of this poetry collection is based on the myth of the blind prophet Tiresias, who lived for some time in both the male and female gender. Truth be told, I'm still a bit cold on mythological beings, and these poems were my least favorite of the lot. It is clear that Tempest found quite a bit of symmetry with Tiresias, and many poems outside the Tiresias-specific poems also look at gender through lenses of love, relationships, and stereotypes. (But at one point, she uses the word tra ...more
Vanessa
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
4.5 stars.

I don't know why I didn't pick this up sooner. This has got to be one of the best poetry collections I have ever read, if not my favourite collection I've picked up.

Kate Tempest was originally known for being a rapper, and this style comes through very strongly in Hold Your Own. Personally, I really enjoy a lot of rhyming in my poetry (although when I write poetry it is more prosaic), and I got this with Tempest's collection. The language is gritty, punchy, and erratic, but has some
...more
Steven Godin
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-britain, poetry

Some Couple


There's always some couple
in ravenous stages of loving
just when we've argued ourselves into cunts.

We'll be fuming,
walking along, saying nothing,
when suddenly,
here they come, skipping in front —

whispering,
smiling,
tickling,
cooing,

it makes me feel
empty
and angry
and dead.

But when I look at you
silently screwing

I know
I'd much rather
have this love instead.
...more
Ylenia
May 23, 2016 rated it liked it
True love takes its toll
On souls
Who are not used to feeling whole

*3.5 stars*

Before this book I thought poetry was just for smart people. Like, you have to really study the poem and understand it to appreciate its true beauty.
But it's not like that and I was stupid and actually scared of not getting the point - because one of the worst things to experience for me is to not understand something.
I don't know if I actually got the point or not but some of these poems hit a little bit too clos
...more
Viv JM
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's ok to feel alone.
Usually you are.
That's what poetry's for.


Kate Tempest is a fierce and fearsome talent and this poetry is absolutely amazing. Loosely based around the life of mythical gender bending blind prophet, Tiresias, Hold Your Own manages to take on themes of love, acceptance, violence, feminism, social justice and more. Parts made me laugh, parts made me cry, but it all made me feel and I guess that's what poetry does best.

Highly recommended.
...more
Lily
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Give her a face that is kind, that belongs
To a woman you know
Who is strong
And believes in the rightness of doing things wrong.


This book challenged the part of me that would read poetry (or anything) in the hope of finding glowing nuggets of wisdom to live by. Because this book had them in droves as plentiful as the dark, uncomfortable avenues that it walks through. And you are left wondering that maybe that's where the glowing nuggets were found.

This collection is a modern-day interpretation of
...more
Kamil
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Earlier collection of poetry than Let Them Eat Chaos, which I read as a first.

Hold Your Own is structured around myth of Tiresias. Regardless of mythological influance that is used to give this collection a structure, similar critic of our uniforming educational, social systems can be found among those angry verses. It's also a study of growing up, relationships, some touching poems especially in the latter section.

I could go one but for me the testimony of her work is the fact that Tempest sp
...more
Joachim Stoop
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Most of the time the simple words and rhymes work well. Sometimes it just felt too easy and juvenile. And some poems clearly work better when read aloud as a slam by miss Tempest.
But overall a great collection
Frances
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
"She would piece herself together
Like some relic found in ash and clay,
A precious, ancient necklace.
When she was complete again,
She’d wolfwalk into town.
And drink down every wave that came
To break her spirits down.
She was wild and wonderful.
A star throughout the district.
A red light dreadnought.
Queen among misfits."
...more
Ruxandra (4fără15)
2.5*

oh... I really thought this would be good, judging by the number of positive reviews it got here. I feel like this collection would be suited for someone who's around 15, edgy, and not particularly interested in poetry, or just getting into it. her mythological reinterpretations ruined it all for me, though the rest of the poems weren't great either; pretentious as this may sound, I did find them far too simplistic, cheesy & superficial, though I'd expected Kate Tempest to differ from rupi
...more
Bárbara
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Wow. I thought and try reading out of my comfort zone. I never pick up poetry, not even sure why. But boy was I wrong not to! Kate Tempest's voice spoke, or rather screamed, right into my heart. I loved it ! ...more
Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I've been wanting to read more poetry recently, so when my sister asked me if I wanted to borrow this collection I jumped at the chance. And then couldn't put it down. At all.

The anthology centres on the character of Tiresias, a blind prophet from Greek mythology who served Apollo, but there's also significant focus on human nature and empathy. The collection is split into four sections: childhood, womanhood, manhood, and blind prophet.

Kae Tempest's writing style is nothing short of phenomenal.
...more
Lindsay
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hold Your Own is a sharp book of poems inspired by the myth of the prophet Tiresias, who lived as a man, then woman, then man again, before being struck blind by Hera and then given the gift of prophecy by Zeus. The myth gives Tempest fertile ground to run on, though she hardly needs more than herself.

This is feminist poetry in the most basic form of feminism, focusing on equality and empathy. Both the female and male perspectives are gut wrenching in their sense of emotional turmoil. This coll
...more
Laura
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mooie bundel, meer een verhaal in gedichten.
Favoriete gedichten: Thirteen (p. 31), The Point (p. 79), Sixteen (p. 35-36), What we lose (p. 57)

"Before her there were things that I trusted
But now there is a loneliness so deep it sends me foetal
And dark endless reves where she makes us both a spectacle
and all I want are the friend I've lost,
the certainty of knowing I have nothing."

"Although there's beauty everywhere,
its shadow is regret.
Still, something in the coming dusk
whispers not to fret
Don't
...more
Mariana Mecenas
Jul 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 probably the best poetry book i'll read this year.

It's not that i'm not a fan of free verse, but usually i see myself more draw to more complex estrutures, like sonets and whatnot, feeling that they're more worth of admiration. This ends here.

Tempest deserves all the praise for compiling such a coehesive work, at the same time so particular and universal with a beautifully layed out mithology background. For most of the book, the poems progress in such a beautifull way and really only gets
...more
zahraa al lawati
Feb 07, 2022 rated it it was ok
I only enjoyed the first poem because it is very memorable, whereas I cannot for the life of me even tell you about the other poems on here (that's how poetry is for me, just flies over my head) ...more
Caro
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
2,5*

The first poem was amazing, a 5 stars for me. I was hoping they would all follow the same structure, but most of the following poems didn't connect to me, and some I found completely indiferent, unfortunately.
...more
James
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this slowly.

And it's poetry so I expected to a.) never finish it or b.) read it out of order. But then I started it. I read "Tiresias", the opening poem, and expected to just take it slow from there. But I couldn't.

This is amazing and relentless poetry. There are so many highlights. It's split into four sections after "Tiresias", a re-telling of the myth, and the poems are based around events of that poem and Tempest's own life. The section "Womanhood" is outstanding, and my fav
...more
Jonat
May 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 21st-century, poetry
When greek-mytbology tropes meets modern world’s... but make it puzzling, avant—guarde and sprinkled with lots of charming irony^^



However, for a person on a journey to social enlightment, I think the take-aways, although being really interesting, weren’t eye-opening to me. But I would say, they were portrayed in such clever ways -drawing parallels with different topics at the same time- that make this book borderline flawless in a way.

I recommend 100%.

——
Update : Re-reading made me realize my ea
...more
lauren ♡
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was really different to the poetry I'm used to reading, but I really enjoyed it. The take on Greek mythology was really interesting. ...more
Marion
Aug 18, 2018 added it
I don't naturally reach for poetry so I don't know how to rate this accurately. But this collection is strong. ...more
Enea
Jun 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It seems that any book that manages to intertwine poetry with these sorts of deep, grimy gender troubles is destined to leave me speechless. This collection fucks on so many levels.
annika
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, poetry, 2017
I am not sure if I should give it three or four stars. One cannot but notice that Tempest has a way with words. Yet I often felt as if something was missing, as if there could have been more.

My favorite poems in this collection are: Tiresias, Thirteen, School, The woman the boy became, These things I know, The point, Man down, Ballad of a hero, Progress and Fine, thanks.

Some of my favorite parts:

Lovers:
Promising each other not to take the vital parts,
While even as they mutter it, they’re giv
...more
Marta
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, poetry
"Language lives when you speak it. Let it be heard.
The worst thing that can happen to words is that they go unsaid"

Absolutely beautiful.
...more
Jade Courtney
Jun 27, 2021 rated it liked it
I’ll be completely honest a good chunk of this just went over my head. Though there were a few poems I really liked, particularly the ones relating to Tiresias.
Inês
Nov 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
"And he saw then: no matter how far you have come,
you can never be further than right where you are."
...more
kate
Mar 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
dude this was so good
Sabine
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
3,5 stars
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Kae Tempest (pronouns: they/them) started out when they were 16, rapping at strangers on night buses and pestering MCs to let them on the mic at raves. Ten years later they are a published playwright, novelist, poet and respected recording artist. Their work includes "Balance", their first album with band Sound of Rum; "Everything Speaks in its Own Way" their first collection of poems, the critica ...more

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