Kate Tempest responds to ‘sensationalist’ Guardian article


Did an event the other day, a live chat with my editor in front of an audience. Really interesting, lots of things came up about poetry, performance, vomiting in rap battles and baptist preachers. A journo was in the room who took a few potentially sensationalist soundbytes out of context, stuck a controversial headline on top of it and pitched it as some kind of attack on ‘conventional’ poetry. So far so usual, but i just want to clarify a couple things. Please know that I am so deeply in love with poetry and literature and music with such force and passion that I’ve dedicated my entire life to reading, listening, watching, making. I don’t want to slam anyone. I don’t think all poets should be performers. I do think though that art should be about something much bigger than the artist. That it should seek to connect with people and seek to connect people with each other. I think that poetry belongs to whoever is blown away by it and that art only lives in the moment it plugs someone who experiences it more directly into life. I say that as a reader and a listener as well as as an artist and I believe it. When poetry smashes head first into someone’s soul and brings them into life it is the most important thing in the world. When it sits in a book on a shelf it is not the most important thing in the world. Not because it’s on a page but because it’s not being read. The reader is the key. The reader, the listener, the person who experiences the art. I genuinely think this. I believe artists have a responsibility to their communities and to their practice to feel and reflect life in all it’s awe and horror in the fullest and most truthful way possible and I believe that the work an artist makes finds its purpose when it speaks to someone. Not necessarily ‘in performance’ but in the moment that it’s lived. Please share this with any irate poets. The last thing I want to do is cause any more of a rift between ‘page’ and ‘stage’. The snobbery and bitterness associated with this distinction is a waste of everyone’s time.

Kate Tempest

Kate has also called fora vote for the wonderful Jeremy Corbyn in the English Labour Party’s leadership election. Fair play to her – showing the way. The Bogwans and Bogmen salute her!

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