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Poetry, From private to public

Par Kate Kellaway - 1 mn

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Kate Tempest’s latest collection shows a poet who is reckless with intimacy – and with the language she chooses to describe it

This is the most personal collection Kate Tempest has ever written. It is her off stage, in-the-wings, behind-the-scenes book. Intimacy is its strength: the life could not be more private, the scrutiny of love, sex and sorrow will speak to anyone who has suffered a broken heart. Yet, at the same time, the overexposed quality of some of the poems is also its weakness. I sometimes felt voyeuristic as I read – as though witnessing more than I ought .

I wondered about the recklessness of this writing – a recklessness that seems to have grown out of vulnerability. To what extent can pain compromise poetic judgment? And why does the transition from private to public feel so uncomfortable here? More than one, such as After show party, gives up, with a slippage in tone that reads like an eff off to poetry, a descent into plain – pained – speech:

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