Performance poet Kate Tempest takes Ted Hughes award
Performance poet Kate Tempest has won the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry for Brand New Ancients, an hour-long “spoken story” with orchestral backing. Tempest, 26, was said to have looked flabbergasted when the award was announced last night. Earlier this month she tweeted after hearing that she had made the shortlist: “Brand New Ancients been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes award for poetry. And people love to say 'performance poets' arent proper. Yes Mate.”
The award was presented at a ceremony at the Savile Club in London on Wednesday by Carol Ann Duffy, who funded it with her poet laureate's stipend as part of a mission to “recognise excellence and innovation in poetry – not just in books, but beyond”.
Artist Cornelia Parker, who with poets Ian Duhig and Maura Dooley was on the judging panel, said: "The brief was to choose the poet who has made the most exciting contribution to poetry in the last year and I think Kate's performance piece is a shining example. I read it first as a piece of prose and thought it was compulsive. But when I heard it as an audio piece it was electrifying. It's a new departure which has informed the way I see the world since. It rings in my head."
Brand New Ancients was co-produced by Battersea Arts Centre and featured a score composed by Nell Catchpole. Tempest’s story reincarnates the gods of old in members of two London families. you can watch a video of the work here
PHOTOGRAPH: KEVIN LAKE for the POETRY SOCIETY