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Brand New Ancients by Kate Tempest
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Brand New Ancients (2013)

by Kate Tempest

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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.


A tale of the terrible or amazing things we do in our search for connection. The title page advises "This poem was written to be read aloud." I didn't. Maybe that's why I didn't like this poem as much as I wanted to like it. I wanted the threads of the stories to wind together more tightly, the link to mythology to be stronger but more subtle. At the same time, there are images and phrases that just jump and sing. One to read again (out loud) and one to see in performance.
  Pencils | Jun 26, 2016 |
Kate Tempest, a revolutionary author, incorporating her vocal back round uncovered the labyrinth of misery given to average people. This novella speaks volumes about the sordid reality that people live in while comparing/reminding humans to fiends and Gods. An inspirational reminder that everyone has the potential to be a God no matter what neglected baggage they carry. ( )
  Ekathe | Jan 28, 2015 |
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"Yes, the gods are on the park bench, the gods are on the bus, / The gods are all here, the gods are in us. / The gods are timeless, fearless, fighting to be bold, / conviction is a heavy hand to hold, / grip it, winged sandals tearing up the pavement -- / you, me, everyone: Brand New Ancients.Kate Tempest's words in Brand New Ancients are written to be read aloud; the book combines poem, rap, and humanist sermon, by turns tender and fierce. Set in Southeast London, Brand New Ancients finds the mythic in the mundane. It is the story of two half-brothers, Thomas and Clive, unknown to each other -- Thomas the result of an affair between his mother and Clive's father. Tempest, with wide-ranging empathy, takes us inside the passionless marriage of Jane and Kevin -- the man who suspects Thomas is not his son, but loves him just the same -- and the neighboring home of Mary and Brian, where betrayal has not been so placidly accepted. The sons of these two households -- quiet, creative Thomas and angry, destructive Clive -- will cross paths in adolescence, their fates converging with mortal fury.These characters' loves, their infidelities, their disappointments and their small comforts -- these, Tempest argues, are timeless. Our lives and our choices are no less important than those of history and myth. Awarded the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, Brand New Ancients insists on our importance as individuals -- and asserts Kate Tempest's importance as a talent impossible to ignore"--… (more)

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