Kate Tempest Occupies The City

It made me angry. I’d never heard a poetry reading described as a “sales conference” before.  I wasn’t sure if I was angry because of  the  detached coldness of the  remark from the young  poet   or because  things had changed without my knowing it – I’d got older.

The entire theatre circuit  that supports new poets  is built by people that believe in art for the people by the people.  Here was a pouting fresh out of the box poet struck by his  own “success”  telling me that a poetry event  was “like a sales conference”.   Flip forward a few years to today. I’ve just got off the plane from Toronto and I’m at The Occupy The City camp by St Pauls  in The City of  London with the journalist and family friend Gary Younge.

Tents are erected on the forecourt of St Pauls like barnacles on the titanic.  Tourists snap the revolution while old  lefties mingle in new spirit.   Then I hear a poet ring out.  The crowd hushes. She’s anger personified. She flips metaphors and delivers her writ with razor wit. She’s  flying by the seat of her rants – style over discontent –   I’m transfixed and exhilarated. It’s breathtakingly brilliant.   It’s Kate Tempest delivering her front lines on The Frontline.  I should drag that other poet by his ear so he can hear how it should be done.

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