Everything Speaks In Its Own Way: An Interview with Performance Poet Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest, Everything Speaks In Its Own Way
Kate Tempest, Everything Speaks In Its Own Way

“So, call me Caliban. They gave me language so I could reign down my curses in verses. I’ll take ’em on word for word — I know the worst is I have to watch my good friends getting caught up in circuits. The serpent rehearses his hisses. He makes the valiant viscous. I know now never to waste wishes. So go on then, conjure a storm on the head of your enemy — you will find yourself victim of negative energy.” —Kate Tempest, ‘What We Came After’

Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest‘s angry, heart-felt, sing-song performance style and allusive, pulsating writing come together to create poetry that’s literary, musical and mesmerizing.

In this podcast, we talk to Kate about her love of hip hop, her first slams, telling her poems to squat raves and punk gigs, and the relationship between lyrics and poetry. We also hear some of the tracks from her fantastic new spoken-word album, Everything Speaks In Its Own Way.

Listen to the podcast using the player below, or subscribe on iTunes by searching “Litro Lab”.


Kate Tempest got up on stage in her first rap battle when she was sixteen. She discovered poetry and began to speak her lyrics in poetry slams. Since then she’s gone on to perform her writing all over the world, from the Nu-Yorican poetry café to all the major European music festivals, and has written poems for the BBC and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She also tours with her band, Sound of Rum, and last year her first play, Wasted, was staged in London to glowing reviews.

Beautifully packaged: "Everything Speaks In Its Own Way"
Beautifully packaged: “Everything Speaks In Its Own Way”

You can buy the album Everything Speaks In Its Own Way, which comes packaged with a beautifully produced book of her poetry, at Kate’s website.

The tracks ‘Live and Die’, ‘What We Came After’, ‘Your Sister Thinks I Love You’, ‘Hip Hop’, ‘Babbling Brook’, and ‘Theme From Zingaro’ are taken from Kate Tempest’s album, Everything Speaks in its Own Way, with the kind permission of Kate Tempest.

Emily Cleaver

About Emily Cleaver

Emily Cleaver is Litro's Online Editor. She is passionate about short stories and writes, reads and reviews them. Her own stories have been published in the London Lies anthology from Arachne Press, Paraxis, .Cent, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, One Eye Grey, and Smoke magazines, performed to audiences at Liars League, Stand Up Tragedy, WritLOUD, Tales of the Decongested and Spark London and broadcasted on Resonance FM and Pagan Radio. As a former manager of one of London’s oldest second-hand bookshops, she also blogs about old and obscure books. You can read her tiny true dramas about working in a secondhand bookshop at smallplays.com and see more of her writing at emilycleaver.net.


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