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

Amazing Autumn opener with a packed house, tons of typically Troubadour atmosphere & interval Sixties sounds, superb, compelling readings from our four mega poets Jo Shapcott, Mimi Khalvati, Michael Laskey & Maura Dooley (all leading poetry activists too!) & powerful poems from new & up-&-coming poets (see Mon 16 Oct), many of them taught, tutored, inspired & encouraged by last night’s big four. A stunning start to our 21st Coffee-House Poetry year. Thanks, all 109 of you for turning out despite ominous Ophelian dust-clouds darkening late afternoon London!

Next up’s an equally amazing evening, Charles Causley, Troubadour, (see Mon 30 Oct, right) with poems, music, conversation about much-loved poet, playwright, broadcaster etc, Charles Causley, long at the heart of contemporary poetry with his best-known poems taught in schools & many set to music & recorded by a range of 60s & 70s folk/jazz & classical greats including some Troubadour favourites.

On the making poetry happen front, clearly not just first workshop after the break syndrome, but the sheer excitement & unpredictability of the theme, meant Sunday’s River Deep workshop was v. oversubscribed: after some swapping around we now have a second date, Sun 29 Oct, but with a good number of places already taken, so do check it out & book now (on our classes page) to feel the rush of rivers, experience their poetic power, join the poetry flow, & enjoy reading your river works — if they’re anything as exciting as last week’s output — at our end-of-season cellar-club gathering, Down by the Riverside on Mon 11 Dec, (see readings).

And note — with apologies… Sun 29 Oct is last workshop this season: too much else going on right now but more in the new year!

And thanks, all of you, for your Troubadour International Poetry Prize submissions, all currently being processed & forwarded to our judges, all in the lap of the gods until prizewinners get to hear by Mon 20 Nov with winners & winning poems on our poems page shortly after Mon 27 Nov’s prize night.

readings - oct-dec 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 16 oct: twenty-firsts: with jo shapcott, maura dooley, michael laskey & mimi khalvati plus twenty-one first-half readers including rachel donati, eleni cay, fran o’leary, charlotte baldwin, ingrid leonard, fahima sahabdeen, elaine baker, katy mack, mark huband, caroline hammond, katarina grabowksy, matthew paul, jennifer wong, fiona larkin, tessa anslow, tiffany anne tondut, louisa campbell, karen littleton, helen adie, lesley sharpe & chloe-louise adegoke
  • mon 30 oct, 8pm: charles causley, troubadour: with john mole, alyson hallett, rory waterman, cahal dallat, bernadette reed & jim causley
  • mon 13th nov, 8pm: off-the-wall wordsmiths: with lorraine mariner, a.f. harrold, jane yeh & paul Stephenson + 21 off-beat first-halfers: steve kendall, matt barnard, christopher reid, andrew ball, seraphima kennedy, diana pooley, iain whitely, roisin tierney, abigail parry, soul patel, susannah hart, kate ghyll, geraldine clarkson, mark winfield, rosie shepperd, steph morris, marianne burton, scarlett sabet, richard price, june lausch, betsy de lotbiniére & rishi dastidar
  • mon 27 nov, 8pm: troubadour international poetry prize night, with 2017 judges imtiaz dharker & michael symmons roberts read with 2017 prizewinners, plus music from the manning sisters
  • mon 11 dec, 8pm: down by the riverside, a ‘waterways’-themed poetry party

See full details of this season’s poetry readings

classes - oct-dec 2017

sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 at the troubadour

  • sun 15 oct, 12-3.30 pm: deep river: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 15 oct, 12-3.30 pm: deep river: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe

(& watch this space for more oct—dec 2017 Sunday Gallery classes)

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

See full details of this season’s classes and workshops

next event

mon 30 oct, 8pm: charles causley, troubadour: with john mole, alyson hallett, rory waterman, cahal dallat, bernadette reed & jim causley

Join our Causley-Trust/Coffee-House Poetry words&music 100th-birthday bash for Charles Causley (1917-2003), one of the century’s most popular poets whose modern ballads, subversive wit, & odes to everyday experience, captured the imagination in a way few poets have done. Join our guests as they read Charles’ poems & their own, discuss & perform new musical settings of his work in part#1, & talk about, in a part#2 Troubadour ‘colloquy’, his imagination, influences & legacy:

  • John Mole, loves language, uses it with subtlety & skill, Charles Causley said, describing his as the work of a true poet; winner of Eric Gregory & Cholomondeley awards, his many collections include Gestures and Counterpoints (Shoestring, 2017)
  • Alyson Hallett was first Causley Trust poet-in-residence in Charles’s Cyprus Well house on Launceston’s Ridgegrove Hill: her books include On Ridgegrove Hill (Atlantic, 2015) & Suddenly Everything (Salzburg, 2013);
  • Rory Waterman’s 2nd Carcanet collection, Sarajevo Roses, is just out; Belfast-born Sen.Lect. at Nottingham Trent Univ, his Belonging & Estrangement in the Poetry of Philip Larkin, RS Thomas & Charles Causley is published by Ashgate (2014);
  • Causley Trust musician/poet-in-residence (& regular Troubadour piano-player), Cahal Dallat, has spent 2017 writing new music/poem-settings & exploring Charles’ musical/poetic influences, with performances at Edinburgh Book Festival, Launceston Castle, Cornwall Folk Festival, Causley Festival, Tamar Valley Classical Festival etc;
  • Bernadette Reed, poet & vocalist, (latest album, Walking on Water, 2012) will sing some of Cahal’s new Celtic, salsa, & jazz settings;
  • Charles’s relative, Jim Causley, (accordion & piano), finest singer of his generation, according to Mojo Magazine, & nominated for BBC Radio2 Folk Singer of the Year 2017, has written & recorded versions of Charles’s poems at Cyprus Well (on CD, Cyprus Well) & has appeared at Causley-Centenary celebrations around the country.


Date: 26th September 2017

Dear Poetry Fans

Where are the songs of spring? John Keats asked, in his ode, To Autumn … Well for us, Autumn 2017, celebrating our 21st Coffee-House Poetry year, has more poems than spring, & more poets than ever, sixty-or-more across four great fortnightly events leading up to our Down by the Riverside end-of-season themed reading with so many more guest readers!

And some songs, some words-&-music, in the midst of all our autumn odes, in celebration (& discussion) of much-loved poet, playwright, broadcaster (& presenter of Poetry Please for many years!) Charles Causley (1917-2003) in a joint Troubadour/Causley-Trust event. As well as the obvious categories – war-poet, Celtic/West-Country poet, working-class poet – Charles was very much part of the Troubadour world of contemporary ballads & protest songs that inspired Dylan, Paul Simon & others (even had some of his poems recorded live at the Troubadour in 1966): I’ve been reading/discussing Charles’s work at centenary events around the country & the Troubadour is the perfect poetry place for a London words-&-music celebration (Mon 30 Oct).

Not that I can highlight any one of our five super events as hottest ticket of the season, as they’re all special in some way: Mon 16 Oct sees us celebrate our 21st Troubadour year with Twenty-Firsts, four major poets all of whom read for us in our first Coffee-House year, 21 years ago, & who have gone on to glittering careers & – as so often with poets – major roles in fostering new poets, many of whom make up the 21 poetry candles on our 21st-birthday cake!

There’s the inevitable excitement of Troubadour International Poetry Prize night, a high-point in the capital’s social poetry calendar, on Mon 27 Nov, with readings (& judges reports!) from Imtiaz Dharker & Michael Symmons Roberts &, of course, readings from our 2017 prizewinners announced at the event.

And if you happen to have been here at our Tom Lynch evening in June, you’ll have heard the beautiful violin-&-cello-playing of Aisling & Julie-Anne Manning, who will grace prize-night with a guest appearance, making it an even more memorable celebration for prizewinners & audience alike. Totally unmissable!

I’ve been fascinated for some time by the unexpected, unlikely angles & improbable imaginary worlds that so many poets conjure up in their Coffee-House readings & party-night floor-spots so we’ve invited some artists of the absurd, aslant & askew to an evening of offbeat obliquery, (Mon 13 Nov) with four well-known names in the second half & a range of talents in the first half.

So that’s 5 amazing fortnightly Troubadour Poetry Mondays, with one Troubadour Sunday Gallery workshop posted so far …

Read more …

Poems: copyright © various named authors. All rights reserved.

Other content: copyright © Coffee–House Poetry 2008–2017. All rights reserved.

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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