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

23:59, Mon 30th… Just in from an exhilirating evening of great poems from our Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2015 prizewinners & from poet-judges John McAuliffe & Jean Sprackland — check out the results list on our poems page plus our judges’ reports on 2015’s submissions, plus twenty-three striking, & strikingly different, 2015 Troubadour poems, 1st, 2nd, 3rd plus our twenty smaller prizes…

next event

mon 14 dec: a winter’s tale: invited guest poets read their own & others’ winter words …plus midwinter music & prize quiz

A sad tale’s best for winter, Mamillius tells Hermione in A Winter’s Tale: & poets have long revelled in the bleak midwinter (Christina Rossetti), the dead of winter (W. H. Auden), a winter’s day/ in a deep and dark December (Paul Simon)…

But winter has other moods: consider the emotional range of Schubert’s Winter Journey, the potential for mystery in Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, satire in Simon Armitage’s Snow Joke, irony in W.R. Rodger’s White Christmas, pathos in Thomas Hardy’s Music in a Snowy Street, optimism in his Darkling Thrush… And what about all those contradictory winter titles: Wild Decembers (Edna O’Brien), Summer in February (Jonathan Smith), The Snow Party (Derek Mahon), December Bride (Sam Hanna Bell)?

Yes, there’ll be poems about snow & ice, poems such as Frost’s Stopping by Woods…, Coleridge’s Frost at Midnight, MacNeice’s snow & the huge roses, Sharon Olds’ True Love, right through to Edward Thomas’ Thaw, Ted Hughes’ Thaw & Louise Gluck’s End of Winter…

But there’ll certainly be poems, too, about winter light & warmth, with lines like …after-image of lamps/ swinging through the yards/ on winter evenings (Seamus Heaney, from Wintering Out), poems about December cityscapes exploding in festive light, about interiors becoming warmer, more inviting, about Christmas, & Twelfth Night, & all the seasonal revelry that dispels the lengthening darkness…

Come along & celebrate some or all of the myriad hazy shades of winter in poems by our invited guest poets &/or by their favourite famous poets, listen to themed midwinter music & join in our seasonal prize-quiz…

readings - oct-dec 2015

mondays 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour

  • mon 19 oct: cornucopia with jonathan davidson, maggie sawkins, kate noakes, matt howard, sarah hesketh, jane clarke, eleni cay & jo bell
  • mon 2 nov: what we should have said: an entertaining, enlightening, innovative & unpredictable spoken-word shindig with glyn maxwell, jane draycott, richard douglas pennant, huw warren & stuart silver plus, before the break… faber academy poets
  • mon 16 nov: an evening with new-york poet, tom sleigh, reading & in-conversation plus former troubadour prizewinners paul stephenson & mona arshi
  • mon 30 nov: troubadour international poetry prize: prizewinners read with 2015 judges john mcauliffe & jean sprackland
  • mon 14 dec: a winter’s tale: invited guest poets read their own & others’ winter words …plus midwinter music & prize quiz

for advance booking: pay via PayPal on our readings page or send cheque payable to Coffee-House Poetry (no credit cards) to Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP stating event & no. of tickets

See full details of this season’s poetry readings

classes - oct-dec 2015

sundays 12—3.30 pm, £28 at the troubadour (yeats walk, sun 11 oct, 2.30—5 pm, £18)

  • sun 4 oct, 12—3.30 pm: winter’s depths: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 11 oct, 2.30—5 pm: land of heart’s desire: a w.b. yeats walk with c.l. dallat
  • sun 25 oct, 12—3.30 pm: winter’s depths: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 15 nov, 12—3.30 pm: poetry masterclass with award-winning US poet tom sleigh (fully booked)
  • sun 29 nov, 12—3.30 pm: the thing with feathers: themed writing workshop anne-marie fyfe

advance booking only as our workshops/classes (limited to 15 attendees) are frequently oversubscribed: pay via PayPal on our workshops/classes page or send cheque payable to Coffee-House Poetry (no credit cards) to Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP: if overbooked you will be informed by e-mail & refunded promptly

See full details of this season’s classes and workshops

John McAuliffe & Jean Sprackland: Mon 30th Nov


from… The Birkdale Nightingale

(Bufo calamito — the Natterjack toad)

On Spring nights you can hear them
two miles away, calling their mates
to the breeding place, a wet slack in the dunes.
Lovers hiding nearby are surprised
by desperate music. One man searched all night
for a crashed spaceship

Jean Sprackland

from… House Fire

Called to the yard
(‘Look, look’, he shouts),
I see the fallen bird
and hold my son’s hand
but what grips instead
are the goggle-eyed flies,
their broad foreheads
like miners’ helmets
lighting up their feelers
on the slippery grey-purple
of the bird’s exposed keel

John McAuliffe

autumn 2015 newsletter

Date: 14th September 2015

Dear Poetry Fans

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, John Keats called it, though before we get to our first Autumn reading, our annual Cornucopia, we’re actually exploring Winter’s Depths in a new Sunday afternoon workshop and revisiting the summer’s WB Yeats literary walk which was oversubscribed this year due to the excitement around #Yeats2015, WBY’s 150th Birthday & the mini-festival we organised at his boyhood London home: (workshop & literary walk both Sun 4 Oct). Workshop-wise the big news is a masterclass from award-winning US poet Tom Sleigh!

On wider fronts, 2015 sees Coffee-House Poetry’s remit extend to— making the annual prize more truly international (we’ll have a stand at AWP in California next spring); embracing new creative-writing categories such as memoir & creative non-fiction; increasing workshop availability outside of London; & recommencing the publishing strand by restarting the ‘Hotels’ anthology project paused temporarily when the sudden expansion of the annual Troubadour prize took up so much resource. With more admin help now involved, I’ll have more time to move forward on each of these strands.

I’ve posted the first 3 items on the ‘workshops & classes’ page (& in e-mailed version of diary/programme) but check website & regular e-news for further details between now & Christmas as I may introduce more classes if time allows.

As for this season’s readings great new-&-established names for our Mon 19 Oct autumn opener, top names, as always, for What We Should Have Said (plus wit, music etc & a host of one-poem Faber Academy readers in the first half) & another ’an evening with’ special — in the recent Muldoon/Doty/McGough mode — featuring, this time, multi-award-winning Brooklyn poet (& Distinguished Creative Writing Professor at Hunter College, CUNY), Tom Sleigh.

Prize night always draws a crowd, not just the poets (& friends of the poets) who’ve won our prizes, but all of the poetry world eager to hear our winning poets read alongside two long-established poets, John McAuliffe & Jean Sprackland, who’ve taken on this year’s judging. (And two previous years’ prizewinners have been chosen to feature alongside New York guest Tom Sleigh earlier in the month!)

Our end-of-season party, A Winter’s Tale will chase away midwinter’s bleakness with our invited guests reading favourite end-of-year poems by famous poets or their own winter reflections penned, some of them perhaps, in our Winter’s Depths workshop in October. Plus music, prize quiz, etc… And lots of fun, of course!

Value-wise we’re sticking with a straight £7 per event, £28 per workshop & season tickets 20% off (i.e. £28 for 5 readings). To book, use PayPal on ’readings’ & ‘classes’ pages, or send cheque payable to Coffee-House Poetry (no credit cards) to PO Box 16210 LONDON W4 1ZP stating event, date &

Read more …

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

Other content: copyright © Coffee–House Poetry 2008–2015. 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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