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Let Them Eat Chaos

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,394 ratings  ·  201 reviews
Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest's new long poem written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, is both a powerful sermon and a moving play for voices. Seven neighbors inhabit the same London street, but are all unknown to each other. The clock freezes in the small hours, and one by one we see directly into their lives: lives that are damaged ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Bloomsbury USA (first published October 6th 2016)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  1,394 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Dannii Elle
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Kate Tempest, and the publisher, Picador, for this opportunity.

There is a raw power in this piece that drew me in from the very first line. The focus is on a freeze-frame of time. Our omniscient and omnipresent protagonist in a nameless and faceless entity swooping into London, from above. Seven individuals are chosen, seemingly at random, and their innermost thoughts, desires and fears are laid bare for t
Catoblepa (Protomoderno)
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: inglese
The great fuffa (Italian version below ↓ )

A purely narrative poem which is having a great success in the UK (and across Europe): it focuses on seven characters, at times in the form of a monologue, at times in third person. The narrative pretext is actually quite fascinating: it's 4.18a.m., we are in a street in South London and in that street, at that time of the day, there are seven people who, for one reason or another, are still awake, each in their own flat. The spark which lights the fire,
Holly Dunn
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The new Waste Land. Kate Tempest puts into words feelings I've never been able to articulate. I thought it was just me, but it isn't. An unsettling, yet strangely reassuring read.
Chris Geown
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very lovely and inspiring and soulful read, reads like a more light-hearted contemporary Bukowski, soaked in wine not whisky.
Liz Janet
I first read Tempest last year, with her amazing collection "Hold Your Own", which dealt with sexuality and gender, and I quickly followed it by reading her less brilliant, "Brand New Ancients", a single poem about generations. This one follows the same principle, a long story of the people of today, tired, hopeless, living the best way they can. We follow the struggles of seven people who live in the same building, but don’t know each other, until a storm wedges them together, and their last ho ...more
(3.5) This is meant to be read aloud, but I think you can still hear the slam poetry rhythms in your head when reading to yourself. The poet imagines seven disparate people in one London neighborhood, all of whom happen to be awake at 4:18 a.m. as a huge storm (a Tempest?) hits. Moving between their lives and the state of the nation, the poem shows the mess we’ve made of our society and our planet and posits love as the way back to wholeness.

Favorite lines:
“Rich flats, broke flats. / New flats.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Picture the world.
Older than she ever thought she'd get.
She looks at herself as she spins.
Arms loaded with the trophies
of her most successful child.
The pylons and mines,
The power-plants shimmer in her still, cool breath.
Is that a smile playing across her lips?
Or is it a tremor of dread?"

This was amazing. Beautiful and perfect. I read it out loud -how this poem was meant- and found Let Them Eat Chaos breathtaking. It is one long poem about seven people living in the same street in London, up a
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Let Them Eat Chaos is one of those books, one of those poems, that everyone should somehow run into, meet, and end up reading at some point, for one reason or another. It should be destined.

Condensed in these words resides a truth that could swallow the world into wholeness.
”This poem was written to be read aloud.”

As you pronounce each and every word, as you taste them, as you feel them, they become real in you, they become you.

The fact that Kate Tempest wrote this, that a fellow human being wr
Feb 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Tempest's work bears the same resemblance to poetry as sawdust does to a living tree. Overblown and dull.
Finally got my own copy and re-read it. Still wow.
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* I was sent this free in exchange for a review from the publisher *

This book is definitely designed to be read aloud and that really enhanced my experience of it as I could say the words as they were written and pace it to be dramatic or intense at all the right moments. I don't often read poetry and this is the first poem of this style I've ever read. I was very pleasantly surprised by how very much I enjoyed this and the way that I related to some of the characters, emotions and the isolation
Harry Whitewolf
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Kate's epic live performance of this on BBC2 was absolutely blinding. She's a much needed poetic voice in contemporary Britain and I can't wait to read this in order to spend more time with the words - but Tempest is as much a performer as she is a poet, so I recommend you watch her perform this first.

Puts my own poetry to shame!! :)
Amy Alice
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. So. I've always had a toe in poetry. I LOVED doing it as a kid, and maintained a lukewarm interest. Then along comes Jen Campbell and her booktube channel and I'm like. I need to give this another go because I love her and she loves poetry. I've had great poems, I've enjoyed beautiful lines, but never really got the whole amazement at a collection.
Oh wow.
I saw Kate Tempest's opening poem from her Glastonbury set and I immediately loved her, and saw that her latest book of poetry
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another one kept around and pawed through for ages, a good fire starter. Reminds me of the time my aunt was trying to comfort me and stop me from crying one time by insulting me over and over, increasingly more ridiculously, so that I would start laughing instead of crying. Sometimes you have to be mean to be kind or to get people back on their feat fighting.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read, honestly idk I don't think I'm a poetry person really:)) it was alright in my opinion but everyone super loves it:) so idk ladies:)
I liked this tho:

Is this what I'm doing?
I know I exist
but I don't feel a thing
I'm eclipsed,
I'm elsewhere.
The worst part is I don't think
that I care.

Is this all that's ahead of me?
I always thought
that life
would mean more to me
I hate to think I'll make it to seventy,
potentially seventy-five,
and realise I've never been alive,
and spend the rest
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
— 3.5 / 5 stars ✨ —
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is EVERYTHING. Though its full-force lies in her performance of it (youtube-available live on BBC). My heart.
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like, a 4.8, but let's round up AS I LOVED IT SO MUCH! It might be one of the best things I've ever read. I think everyone should read this book. That's my go-to answer for that personality question now: everyone should read Let Them Eat Chaos, especially Donald Trump. I also read this right after finishing Children of the New World, and so I was already open to the whole we-need-to-find-a-way-to-take-care-and-love-more-or-we're-fucked mindset. Kate Tempest is so talented and now I want to read ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I listened to the album on Spotify, and I think that really enhanced my enjoyment. I do think I would enjoy reading this in print, and I also want to listen to the album a couple more times to really get a sense of the language. Really thought-provoking and beautiful upon a first listen.
Anna Belkovska
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love
I want more of this.
Anna Vaughan
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I don't think there is a single thing that Kate Tempest could write which I wouldn't love
Kaitlyn Ferrier
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poetry is still not my forte but I think watching this be performed would be phenomenal. Very powerful.
Molly Cawthorn
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You MUST listen to the album whilst reading this. It's an experience.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I'd recommend reading this before you listen to the album, especially if you love Tempest's poetry. I watched the Performance Live show where she read this (to the music) in full, and it was amazing, but I feel like having the music vaguely in my head initially diminished the reading of this. (Although, having said that, it was written to be spoken aloud, so maybe you should listen/watch the poem first, because that's how it's meant to be experienced.)

The idea of this book is amazing.
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Seven strangers awake in the early hours of the morning contemplate their situation in life while others in the city sleep. A storm is brewing in this frozen moment in time and as the clock moves forward again it starts to rain. Kate Tempest’s new long poem calls for its readers to also wake up and see what is happening around them, to join together to change things rather than remaining isolated and ignoring the problems in the world. It’s a powerful message but not one that feels alienating or ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing

By accident, I discovered that the album where Kate Tempest performs this poem and added music is on Spotify so I listened to it and read along and that added a whole new layer to this book. I'm so thrilled.

It was really interesting to read this in a bit of a different way to when I first read it because now I could hear how Kate reads it and there were some differences between the text and the album so that was... just really cool, basically. I loved it.

Hall's Bookshop
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lucas
Already comparisons are being drawn with the Waste Land - but I would hesitate, as I think that would do disservice to both works. They share a space, but where Eliot's poem is a heap of broken images, Tempest's is a plotted narrative of connection. Tempest's poem is emphatically not modernist, even if it may look it on the page. Built around city life - specifically, very heavily invested in London 'and all the gods from all those places who taught me everything I know', as she put it in Brand ...more
Ken French
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Tempest is the writer who has had the biggest impact on me this year. Her novel, her poetry, her recordings have all been in regular play. This, her latest, is an introspective look at seven Londoners at 4:18 am as their lives are examined and eventually intertwine. And it struck me on the third listen to the accompanying album, that Tempest is, in her way, the George Orwell of her time. Shining a strong, vibrant light on British (and human) society in order for her people to have a better ...more
Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
Kate Tempest smashes another one out the ball park.
Review to come.
C. Varn
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kate Tempest is a performance poet liked with teen and young adult nihilism in many ways given her subject matter generally being young people partying. Yet even when "Let Them Eat Chaos" was performed and written, Tempest was in late 20s/early 30s. Furthermore, the conceit of the poem about seven strangers in London being forced to confront each other in the early hours of the morning during a storm in London does speak to youthful alienation but of a different variety than merely the partying ...more
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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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“We die so others can be born
We age so others can be young
The point of life is live,
Love if you can
Then pass it on.

- We Die
“Coz it’s big business, baby,
and its smile is hideous.
Top-down violence.
Structural viciousness.

Your kids are doped up
on prescriptions and sedatives.
But don’t worry 'bout that, man,
Worry 'bout

The water level's rising!
The water level's rising!
The animals -
the polar bears
the elephants are dying.

But what about the oil spill?

No one likes a party-pooping spoilsport.

Massacres massacres massacres/new shoes
ghettoised children murdered in daylight
by those employed to protect them.
Porn live-streamed to your pre-teens bedrooms.
Glass ceiling. No headroom.
Half a generation live beneath the breadline -
oh but it's Happy Hour on
the high street!

- Europe is Lost
More quotes…