Running Upon the Wires by Kate Tempest review – raw revelations


This post is by Kate Kellaway from Books | The Guardian


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Kate Tempest’s self-exposing collection of poems, ballads and lyrics pulse with recklessness and vulnerability

This is the most personal collection Kate Tempest has ever written. It is her offstage, 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 (while reminding myself that the decisions about what to include are Tempest’s own).

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? It is as if some ...