Running Upon the Wires: Poems (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Kate Tempest’s newest collection of poetry chronicles the dissolution of her marriage from end to beginning. Her approachable style pulls you into the midst of her relationship, shown in flickering memories as well as observations of the seemingly mundane. Just as you come to grips with the end, she brings you slowly back to the beginning, and then you truly feel her sense of loss. This reverse structure illuminates the patterns we repeat in our lives and relationships; the experience of plodding over ground you’ve seen before, heavy with a feeling of never changing and escaping out of these cycles. Right at the last moment, she leaves you with the title poem (pulled from James Joyce in Dubliners), replacing this inertia with a note of hope, of change. This quick but powerful read will leave you going back again and again to find more hidden within these short poems and is for anyone who has loved and lost only to love again.


— From Devin's Picks


Running Upon the Wires is full body art, smack against love in all its stages, a battle to the finish-or the beginning-the epic struggle (and ecstasy) as only Kate Tempest could record.” -Bob Holman

From award-winning poet, novelist, playwright, rapper, and recording artist Kate Tempest, an unabashedly intimate poetry collection that confirms her as one of our most important poetic truth tellers.

My body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires (James Joyce, Dubliners).

Award-winning writer, spoken-word star, and spellbinding performer Kate Tempest is as bold an observer of the human heart as she is of social and political change. Her raw and exhilarating new collection of poems throbs with love's extremes: the end of one relationship, the budding of another, and what happens when the heart is pulled both ways at once.

Calling in its title upon the classical poet's harp, the technological wires of communication, and the neural wires of feeling, Tempest's electrifying new verse weaves interpersonal struggle into a cathartic and memorable work of art about joy and despair, confusion and clarity, self-destruction and revival. Explosively lyrical and pulsing with feeling, Running Upon the Wires is frayed yet powerful in its pain, determined to speak and find love in a human community of “terrifying beauty.”

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.

Praise For…

“Ms. Tempest has an ability to write about big, metaphysical subjects in the most vernacular language.” —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times on HOLD YOUR OWN and BRAND NEW ANCIENTS

“One of the brightest British talents around. Her spoken-word performances have the metre and craft of traditional poetry, the kinetic agitation of hip-hop and the intimacy of a whispered heart-to-heart . . . drawing on ancient mythology and sermonic cadence to tell stories of the everyday.” —The Guardian

“Kate Tempest, she who wrestles the Classics to the Present and spits the World in a single Word, takes on the anatomy of love as told from ending to beginning in the devastating Running Upon the Wires. Journal jottings, prose poems, imagistic bursts, sonnet-like sequences, haiku, sentences that run on, run off, run over . . . This is full body art, smack against love in all its stages, a battle to the finish--or the beginning-- the epic struggle (and ecstasy) as only Kate Tempest could record.” —Bob Holman

“[The Bricks that Built the Houses] marks the arrival of a significant new voice . . . deeply affecting: cinematic in scope; touching in its emphatic humanity . . . Tempest's voice--by turns raging and tender--never falters. By the time the novel reaches its cleareyed climax, cleverly undercutting its own promised happy ending, the reader is left with the impression of a work that hums with human life.” —New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

“Tempest has a knack for the devastating throwaway line--a skill-honed, no doubt, from years of rapping and spoken-word performances. Her work is rich with underlinable lines . . . Captivating.” —New Yorker on THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES

“Blake, Shakespeare, Eliot, the Wu-Tang Clan: when an artist's outlook on boundaries is so dizzyingly open, you long to know what happens next.” —The Guardian on THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES

“A novel that perfectly captures the modern trials and tribulations of youth and urban life in London.” —BuzzFeed on THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES

“[Tempest is] a Zadie Smith if Smith were in her 20s again . . . An artistic prodigy . . . [Her] captivating The Bricks That Built the Houses is rich in detail, clever in plot and filled with characters who live on the edge but never quite give up.” —Shelf Awareness on THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES

“Thrillingly good . . . Ms. Tempest stitches together words with such animate grace that language acquires an almost tactile quality, and the drama she unfolds . . . soars to operatic dimensions. . . . [An] hypnotically persuasive vision.” —Charles Isherwood, New York Times on BRAND NEW ANCIENTS

“Breathe[s] new life into old classic forms; a long poem about us and the gods that's all high-kicking verve and long-range understanding. I loved its vision, powerful and merciful.” —Ali Smith, The Observer, on BRAND NEW ANCIENTS

“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 on LET THEM EAT CHAOS

Product Details
ISBN: 9781635570199
ISBN-10: 1635570190
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: November 13th, 2018
Pages: 64
Language: English