Reviews

“Witty and wise, ‘Outwith’ gives us an outside look at ourselves, and the things we take for granted, like words that no-one outside Scotland uses. Katie Ailes – ‘all rude American brass’ when she arrived – writes with an obvious natural verve and insight.”

—James Naughtie on “Outwith” for Best of the Best Scottish Poems, 25 Jan. 2019

“In total, 12 poems are performed: three by 2017’s reigning champion of the event, Katie Ailes, and the remaining by the three poets who battle it out in a bid to win the 2018 title. Katie Ailes’ poetry starts off the evening, as she reads poems centred on the theme of rebellion. Her poetry brings a warm nostalgia over the audience as she describes her rebellious days as an exchange student at the University of Edinburgh in her poem Edinburgh November, taking the audience with her on an adventure through the city’s nights: “stamp[ing] through the Cowgate” and “summit[ing] Calton Hill”

—Ella Roch-Perks reviewing the Book Week Scotland Poetry Slam 2018 for The Student, 28 Nov. 2018

“[T]he sharp-edged and witty delivery of Katie Ailes highlights her as a key figure on the spoken word scene. Her final poem, discussing the influence of her father on her life, exudes an incredible gravity and picks at the most sacred parts of the listeners’ hearts.”

— Brooke Stanish reviewing Loud Poets: To Infinity and Beyond for The Student, 25 Sep. 2018

“The lyrical eloquence of Katie Ailes is remarkable: during the performance she speaks of refugees and recites a poem to her daughter. Her writing touches these subjects lightly, never clumsily raging but entreating us to feel like her – something you cannot help but do.”

Caitlin Powell reviewing Loud Poets at the Edinburgh Fringe for The Student, 16 Aug. 2017

“Then once we’re comfortable, they broadside us with a deep and heartfelt meditation on immigration, where US-born poet Katie Ailes mirrors her chosen migration with that forced upon others–checking her privilege in acknowledging her “accent is as good as a visa stamp”. A common-sense critique of a performance is simply whether it’s worth the ticket price – in this case a resounding yes.”

—Alan Bett reviewing Loud Poets at the Edinburgh Fringe for The Scotsman, 20 Aug. 2017

“When Katie Ailes began her poem about refugees, I didn’t know how I felt about her talking of a crisis that is not her own. But she ended with a line explaining how she knows this poem helps nothing, and it became a reminder of how important spoken word is; poetry cannot change the world, but it can move people in ways other mediums cannot — from the soul.”

—Sophie Charalambous reviewing Loud Poets at the Edinburgh Fringe for Broadway Baby, 13 Aug. 2017

“A definitive highlight is a dance/film poem piece from Katie Ailes [“Polos”]. She performs an eloquent dance in front of a projected film of herself reading a poem. The result is a mesmerising love letter to her dance teacher.”

—Steven Fraser reviewing Hidden Door Festival for The Wee Review, 29 May 2017

“Topics range from the intimately personal to the overtly political. In form and style they likewise differ, with clever rhyming wordplay succeeded by vivid prose imagery interspersed by rousing slam poems. The best moments combine stylistic skill and emotional weight – notably, Katie Ailes, Jess Smith, and Captain of the Rant.”

—Review of Loud Poets: La La Loud in All These New Relations, 19 May 2017

“This poem by American Katie Ailes – a spoken word performance poet whose work also reads beautifully on the page – is a captivating, fond, witty piece about the absorption and use of language and accent and becoming part of a culture.”

—Catherine Lockerbie on “Outwith” for Best Scottish Poems 2016

Katie Ailes continues to recite memories of her own in a manner that makes the listener think it was their childhoods, puberty, and adolescence. Katie’s delivery is one of such charming effect that the band behind her melts into the stories that the audience feasts on, digesting the morals which are conjured up about learning, music, creativity, and love.”

—Stephen Watt reviewing Loud Poets: Exile on Sauchiehall St. for The Mumble, 10 June 2016

“I was bowled over by the beautifully embodied performances of Katie Ailes and Kevin Mclean.”

—Clare Best, “StAnza 2016 – a festive table,” 13 Mar. 2016

“Katie Ailes, holding the current StAnza slam title who placed second in the 2015 Scottish National Poetry Slam, and Kevin Mclean, the current Glasgow slam champion and poetry veteran, performed in one of the best shows I have ever seen. Their voices were harmonious and their compositions synchronized; I was enthralled by their performance. The show, 50 minutes long, saw the two poets recounting original poems about social and parental issues, memories, past loves & children, while taking off their ‘social clothes’ to stand naked in front of a bunch of strangers. If one imagines a poetry show to be just about love poems, as YouTube has taught us, this was not the case. Katie and Kevin succeeded in capturing the attention of the entire audience, which ranged from teenagers to couples in their sixties. The show itself was a success, with people showing their enthusiasm from the beginning. Ailes and Mclean’s devotion and passion are highly commendable, not to mention Ailes’s gesturing and Mclean’s fast performing, which succeeded in rendering his innermost feelings.”

Nicola Simonetti reviewing the 3rd March StAnza Poetry Cafe for The Tribe, 4 Mar. 2016

“Punters lured in by the promise of a free beer and a pie can hear some talented performers, not least Loud Poets, an Edinburgh-Glasgow collective represented at StAnza by Kevin Mclean and Katie Ailes … Ailes had the stand-out poem: ‘Outwith’, a portrait of her time as an American in Scotland, absorbing new Scots words into her vocabulary – a feeling that would have struck a chord with more than one St Andrews student.”

— Tristram Fane Saunders reviewing StAnza 2016 for The Scores

“Our headliner was American poet, Katie Ailes, one of the Loud Poets, with a powerful and dramatic set. Her letter for the daughter she might have in the future was intensely moving.”

—Jean Rafferty recounting the Worldwide Reading for Ashraf Fayadh (Scottish PEN), 4 Feb. 2016

“Katie Ailes’ Homing is a transition between the borders of the homes we create for ourselves – whether they be stemmed from childhood or ones we find along the way as our lives begin to take shape.”

—Jade Mitchell reviewing Homing for Words Dance, 21 Oct. 2015