Poetry Readings, Classes and Prizes at the Troubadour: 263-267 Old Brompton Road, London SW5

“… life, literature, and the pursuit of happiness in the famous Troubadour cellar-club, London’s liveliest and best–loved poetry landmark since the 1950s …”

Former US Poet-Laureate Billy Collins on the Troubadour’s 60th birthday as a writer’s café…
           Thanks to the zeal of its many managers and promoters, the Troubadour has evolved over its 60 year history from a hidden-away beatnik coffee house to a world famous center for the performance of music and poetry. Its walls have become storied, and if only the place had halls, they would be hallowed. The Troubadour was the scene of the first reading I gave in the UK, and I count myself among the long line of poets who are eager to return and darken its doorway again.


from Coffee-House Poetry organiser, Anne-Marie Fyfe

Looking forward to welcoming you all back after our Easter/Spring Break to Summer 2017 with a classic Troubadour Poetry Monday, May 15th, see right, showcasing eight great poets. That’s followed by two of our ‘evening-with’ formats featuring US poets, the first, May 29th, focusing on one of last year’s Troubadour ‘hits’, Brooklyn’s Dennis Nurkse (plus poets from University of North Florida!) and the second, Jun 12th, with someone who hasn’t visited us in a v. long time, Michigan poet, undertaker, & BBC Radio 4 essayist, Thomas Lynch. (Plus Sunday masterclasses with those two great US poets, see classes page, with more themed creative-writing workshops to be announced pop-up-wise during the season!)

And with the summer solar solstice on Jun 21st this year, & with Mercury aligned with Mars on Jun 28th, what better theme for a Jun 26th poetry-gathering than planets, moons, satellites, orbits & galaxies… however loosely interpreted in our guest-poets’ end-of-season Planet Earth party choices, their own celestial offerings, or those by famously metaphysical sky-watching versifiers.

And BTW, do check out Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2017 details on our prizes page: great judges, a great range of prizes, and yes, lots of time until our October deadline but you can submit any time now!

readings - may-jun 2017

mondays 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour

for advance booking: pay via PayPal (on readings page) or cheque to Coffee-House Poetry at PO Box 16210, LONDON W4 1ZP

  • mon 15 may: spring fever: with elaine gaston, jon stone, claire dyer, alistair noon, ruth sharman, nick makoha, michael scott & penny boxall plus singer/guitarist henry fajemirokun
  • mon 29 may states of writing: with d. nurkse, reading & in-conversation plus, before the break, students from university of north florida, plus singer/guitarist mark ari
  • mon 12 jun: a matter of life & death: the much-loved, & award-winning, michigan poet, essayist & undertaker, thomas lynch, reading & in-conversation
  • mon 26 jun: planet earth: poetry party with guest readers, music & prize-quiz on the theme of planets & perseids, stars & satellites, orbits, galaxies & constellations…

See full details of this season’s poetry readings

classes - may-jun 2017

sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 at the troubadour

(except yeats walk, sunday 25th jun, 2.30-5 pm, £18 from ravenscourt park tube)

advance booking only as our workshops/classes (limited to 15 attendees) are frequently oversubscribed: pay via PayPal (see classes page) or cheque to Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON W4 1ZP: if overbooked you’ll be informed by e-mail & refunded promptly

  • sun 21 may, 12-3.30 pm: a tree grows: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 28 may, 12-3.30 pm: masterclass: critical workshop with d. nurkse (now fully booked)
  • sun 11 jun, 12-3.30 pm: genre bending: writing workshop with thomas lynch (now fully booked)
  • sun 25 jun, 2.30-5 pm, £18: land of heart’s desire: a wb yeats walk with cl dallat
  • nb: do check website later for further may-jun workshops or sign up for newsletter

See full details of this season’s classes and workshops

next event

mon 15 may: spring fever: with elaine gaston, jon stone, claire dyer, alistair noon, ruth sharman, nick makoha, michael scott & penny boxall, plus singer/guitarist henry fajemirokun

Step into summer with superb poetry from some super summer-season Troubadour poets:

  • Elaine Gaston (latest collection, The Lie of the Land, Doire, 2015) lectures at Ulster University, has won the Seamus Heaney Centre/No-Alibis award & had poems in Poetry Ireland: The Rising Generation;
  • London-based Jon Stone won Poetry London’s annual competition in 2014 & 2016, & co-edited, with Kirsten Irving, the four-volume Birdbook project: his School of Forgery (Salt, 2012) is a PBS Recommendation;
  • Claire Dyer’s poetry collections, Eleven Rooms & Interference Effects are published by Two Rivers Press. Her novels, The Moment & The Perfect Affair & her short story Falling for Gatsby are published by Quercus;
  • Alistair Noon has lived in Berlin since the early 90s. His publications include two collections from Nine Arches Press, Earth Records (2012), shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize, & The Kersoene Singing (2015);
  • French translator Ruth Sharman lives in Bath; Birth of the Owl Butterflies, title poem of her debut collection, won an Arvon 2nd prize: her latest collection, Scarlet Tiger (2016) won the Straid Collection Award;
  • Nick Makoha, whose debut, The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man launched the Flippedeye pamphlet series, is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, won the Brunel International African Poetry Award, & represented Uganda at the London Cultural Olympiad’s Poetry Parnassus;
  • Michael Scott co-founded the Swindon Festival of Poetry: his debut chapbook Little Usherette (Red Ceilings Press, 2016) has been described as like Citizen Kane written on the back of a fag packet;
  • Penny Boxall’s debut collection is Ship of the Line (Eyewear, 2014); she won both the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award & first prize in the 2016 Elmet Poetry Competition;
  • plus singer/guitarist Henry Fajemirokun


Date: 6th January 2017

Dear Poetry Fans

A surprising Christmas to New Year break with bright days, clear skies, mild nights, & some time for blue-skies thinking, quite literally, as our first Sunday Gallery workshop, In the Clouds, explores clouds in all their impressive & oppressive magnificence & tedium, our first party night, Weather Report, celebrates meteorological poetry (or poems with at least a tenuous weather connection!) & Planet Earth, our midsummer celebration — under classic clear solstice night skies — will have us listening to (& reading) poems on planets, perseids, meteor showers & every known form of heavenly body.

But time for metaphorical blue-skies thinking too, as our recent programmes (& the very successful autumn season which kicked off our 20th Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour year) show, it’s very much your Troubadour, with more & more of our first-halves affording new & aspiring poets a chance to read on the famous Troubadour stage, whether as Dom Bury’s ‘before the break’ guest choices or Live Canon’s Shakespearean sonneteers last season or, this time, University of North Florida MFA students, & poetry alumni of London’s Faber Academy.

Both our showcases (in January & May) feature eight new poets or poets with new collections: & our party nights allow an increasing number of invited guest poets, Troubadour favourites & poets who are regular audience or workshop members, to read to an always-imaginative theme.

And when we talk of Troubadour favourites, among the outstanding

Read more …

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The Troubadour is at 263–267 Old Brompton Road, London SW5.

See www.troubadour.co.uk for details, and our contact page for directions and a map.

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