Running Upon The Wires is Kate Tempest’s first book of free-standing poetry since the prolific Hold Your Own, and we are not long into the book before we are reminded of Kate’s experimental and non-conformist approach, her contents begin at the end and work their way to the beginning. With a narrative running throughout the collection that focuses on the end of one relationship and the beginning of a new one, we are treated to more personal works from Tempest, as she intimately lays bare her feelings as she navigates the course of love, with it’s woes and it’s ends, transitioning to the fresh and the new.
Vastly different to anything else I have read form Kate Tempest, it is an interesting collection that explores all aspects of relationships from the moving in together concerns to the weighting concern and longing once all is said and done, and it varies greatly in style. The structure is unique as she considers the end of a relationship before the beginning of another, hence the title Running Upon The Wires, I presume, but this in itself keeps it relative, as we know this all too well. Reflective at the beginning with titles like I Was A Nightmare The Whole Time I Know It and Keeping Busy. Immersive at the end as the focus is on the experience, Duet focuses on the noises they speak when they have sex, the singing, the screaming, the concern for the neighbours, the duet.
Not Now But Soon is interestingly styled in that it shows Tempest likes to play with word and meaning, a poem that can be read in several ways, brimming with ideas and notions, perhaps more akin to her other work albeit not the length. It goes without saying that this collection disappoints in that it is simply not a Brand New Ancients or a Hold Your Own, but if we remove these from the equation and consider this without her previous background, it is a beautifully honest account of the feelings and stages at which one goes through, moving from one relationship and into the next. Her non-conformist structure along with her variety in techniques, vivid imagery and heartfelt candour make this a marvellous collection of poetry, that I would urge a poetry-lover to buy.
Running Upon The Wires by Kate Tempest is out now published by Picador Poetry.