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Hold Your Own

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,169 ratings  ·  262 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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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,169 ratings  ·  262 reviews


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Liz Janet
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
"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 be
...more
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
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
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
Ylenia
May 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Ylenia by: Booktube
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 close
...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
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.
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."
lauren ♡ (wonderless reviews)
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.
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.

Kate Tempest's writing style is nothing short of phenomenal
...more
Fiqa
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2017
I've known Kate Tempest from youtube through her spoken poetry. I know for a fact she's a genius rapper and playwright. I finally got the chance to read her poetry collections thanks to big bad wolf sale heh. This is probably the only poetry collection i've read and enjoyed reading till the end so far.
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
Carolina
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.
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
Marion Honey
I don't naturally reach for poetry so I don't know how to rate this accurately. But this collection is strong.
annika
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2017, own
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 givin
...more
Marta Martín Amor
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.
Sabine
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
3,5 stars
Lydia
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, lgbtiqa
This was a fantastic read. I read it in about two sittings.

It's based on ancient myth, but you don't need to know the myth to enjoy the poems. (Although I'd like to go and check out a few translations and definitely read this book again.)

Tempest touches on so many themes, sexuality, loneliness, belonging, modern life, love, gender, feminism, war, and all with such simple, emotional prose. I had such a visceral reaction reading her work and I loved every minute of it. It's so easy to read and s
...more
Sam
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-own
Best book I've read so far this year. I have read very little poetry and it's not always the easiest thing for me. But this poetry collection is so layered and intricate and I connected with this in a way that I rarely do with books, let alone poetry. I felt like this was written for me. "Fuck the Poem" is my favorite if I had to pick one, but when I was going through the collection to pick out a few others I enjoyed, I found I was tabbing almost every one. I recommend this to anyone who is afra ...more
Matt Carl
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I heard about Kate Tempest from one of Jen Campbell's videos, and loved her epic poem "Brand New Ancients" so was glad to pick up this new (new in the US, anyway) collection. The structure sort of follows the stages of the life of Tiresias (from Sophocles' plays) who we see as a boy, then a woman, then a grown man, then a blind prophet. The poems are arranged around these stages, some are specifically about Tiresias, some not. Maybe it's just because I don't read a lot of poetry, but these seeme ...more
Lúcia Collischonn
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: booktube, poetry
I've recently gotten into spoken-word poetry and it is definitely my jam! Tempest is such a great poet it blows my mind! Her take on gender and our place in society is shared through beautiful words that work both in written form and when reading it out loud (btw, highly recommend it) love love love this! Do a favour to yourself and read it too!
Amy
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kate Tempest is definitely one of my favourite poets. This collection is a modern retelling of Tiresias myth. The first poem is incredible and the rest of the collection is split into four parts. My favourite section was definitely the last one.
This collection is great if you are a lover of poetry and it is also a great collection for people new to poetry.
Hanadi
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
The first poem is nice, the rest to be honest is just meh...
Sophie
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk-author, poetry
*4.5 stars*

Woah. That was so powerful. Thought provoking and bursting with rhythm. I'm going to have to read everything by Kate Tempest now.
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't do a lot of poetry reading, so this is very much a layman's review. I enjoyed this contemporary collection a lot. The collection is built structurally around the myth of Tiresias (which I had to look up) -- a boy who spends his childhood as a boy, becomes a woman for a period of time, and ends his life as a man and a prophet. The collection starts with a poem that essentially gives an overview and exploration of the myth. The rest of the collection is split into sections detailing the se ...more
Ike
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I... don't know? I think I loved it? I definitely loved parts of it. I think I also read this in a suboptimal environment (partly on a train journey) and in a suboptimal frame of mind so eventhough I loved almost every poem they didn't really stick in my mind as much. Also, this was hyped a lot to me so maybe it was always impossible to live up to that expectation. Anyway, there are absolutely some real gems in here and the themes are really interesting and I really like the rhythm in the poetry ...more
Nadia Zeemeeuw
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I leafed through this collection the couple of times in a bookshop before buying, every time opening it - almost mystically - on the same page.
This my first collection of hers and I think it would be harder to like it more than I did. Emotional, witty, painful and beautiful - I am eager to read more poetry of hers.
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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
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“How many yous have you been?
How many,
Lined up inside,
Each killing the last?”
36 likes
“Better to have been a dickhead and seen it,
than be a cunt all your life and not know it.”
34 likes
More quotes…