(Michael Hogan’s article appeared in the Observer, 9/13.)
Perfect storm. Thundering success. It never rains but it pours. Lightning strikes twice. Yep, the meteorological puns and weather-based wordplay were out in force last week with the news that street poet, rapper, playwright and impossible-to-pigeonhole polymath Kate Tempest had achieved an unprecedented double.
On Wednesday, it was announced that her hip-hop album Everybody Down had been shortlisted for the Mercury prize. The next day it was revealed that Tempest had been selected by the Poetry Book Society as one of 20 next generation poets, a prestigious list picked just once per decade. The 27-year-old is the youngest of the crop and described herself as "humbled, terrified and proud", adding: "Bit bonkers, isn't it?"
This all comes the year after Tempest scooped the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry (the first person under 40 to win it), the Off-West End Theatre award (aka "the Offies") and a Herald Angel award at the Edinburgh fringe. Her mantelpiece in south-east London must be positively groaning.