Let Them Eat Chaos (Paperback)
Kate Tempest is like a modern Homer or Virgil. She carries on the oral tradition of poetry. Like her previous poem Brand New Ancients, Let Them Eat Chaos begs to—and should—be read aloud. A favorite of mine.— From Greg
Kate Tempest's powerful new narrative poem--set to music on her album of the same title, shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize--illuminates the lives of a single city street, creating an electric, humming human symphony
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, disenfranchised, lonely, broken, addicted, and all, apparently, without hope. Then a great storm breaks over London, and brings them out into the night to face each other--and their own last chance to connect.
Tempest argues that our alienation from one another has bred a terrible indifference to our own fate, but she counters this with a plea to challenge the forces of greed which have conspired to divide us, and mend the broken home of our own planet while we still have time. Let Them Eat Chaos is a cri de cœur and a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year.
About the Author
Kate Tempest grew up in south-east London, where she still lives. Her first poetry collection Everything Speaks in its Own Way was released on her own Zingaro imprint. Her epic poem, Brand New Ancients – a modern-day myth set in south London – won the Ted Hughes Prize in 2013, making her the first-ever recipient under 40. Her extensive international tour of Brand New Ancients sold out everywhere and gained a five star review in the New York Times. Her plays include GlassHouse, Wasted and Hopelessly Devoted. She released an album, Balance, with Sound of Rum in 2011 and her debut solo album, Everybody Down, a narrative-led hip hop record based on The Bricks That Built The Houses, was released on Big Dada records in 2014 to wide critical acclaim. Kate Tempest's second poetry collection, Hold Your Own, will be published in October 2014.
"This feels a lot like Patti Smith here, in massive wordplay. The sorrows, loss, and rage are the same; and you have to admire the inner beauty coming to surface in serious ways; and more than that, applaud a young artist on a marvelous occasion for driving a dream to the fullest extent just for the flight of it." - Washington Review of Books
"Ms. Tempest has an ability to write about big, metaphysical subjects in the most vernacular language." - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Capture[s] a yearning for something better that resonates in this early 21st-century political climate." - Publishers Weekly
"Tempest is brilliant at painting pictures with words, drawing compelling characters that pull you into their lives." - Jay Gabler, "The Current", MPR
"Kate Tempest's skill as a wordsmith will continue to win her awards and critical praise, but it's her passion as a performer that can carry her to a larger audience . . . There are moments in musical history when you can practically feel culture forces coalescing around a voice and a talent on the cusp of a massive breakthrough . . . If [Tempest] continues operating at the stratospheric level on display these last few weeks, she should probably get used to it." - Forbes.com