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

So ‘yellow’ – or more properly Big Yellow Taxi!, (see readings, Mon 9 March) – proved an incredibly popular theme for our guest readers, whether because it gave them wider rein in their own poems or a wider choice among favourite published poems: either way, a very lively evening, a lovely audience, & a vivid & energised set of readings to welcome spring in all its sunshiny, summer-dressy, crocusy, daffodilly, egg-yolky, buttery, Post-It Note-y, diversion-sign yellowness! Hope everyone’s looking forward to our next themed poetry-party, Too Darn Hot! on 22nd June: I know I am!

We’re off for Easter now, back at the beginning of May (& if you want to check out what I’m doing in the break with readings in the US plus a couple of poetry competitions to judge, see my own website).

Do check out our £5,000 annual Troubadour International Poetry Prize with judges Jean Sprackland & Adam O’Riordan on our prizes page, cellar-club events on the readings page and watch out for more workshops & seminars t.b.a. on the classes page, or join our regular e-list if you’re not already receiving the e-mails!

Enjoy the Easter break & see you all in Summer 2015 if our paths don’t cross elsewhere, earlier, in the interim…

next event

mon 11 may: spring into summer with r.a. villanueva, miranda peake, inua ellams, tim richardson, scarlett sabet, will burns, roisin tierney, & mark huband with henry fajemirokun

Come along & listen to some of the happening voices in & around London in our spring/summer showcase:

  • R.A. Villanueva (b. NJ, lives in Brooklyn & teaches at NYU) was 2013 recipient of the Ninth Letter Literary Award: his 2014 Reliquaria (Univ. Nebraska) won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize
  • London poet/artists Miranda Peake organises dance classes in schools for Royal Academy of Dance: Florence her first published poem won MsLexia’s 2014 Women’s Poetry Competition
  • Inua Ellams (b. Nigeria, 1984) has published two poetry pamphlets including Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars & his one-man (written & acted) show The 14th Tale won a Fringe First at Edinburgh
  • author/critic/journalist Tim Richardson writes on gardens & landscape design: his first full poetry collection is due in 2015 from Live Canon
  • Scarlett Sabet is a London-based actor, director & poet of French & Iranian descent: her pamphlet Rocking Underground was launched in December 2014
  • one of 2014’s four Faber New Poets, Will Burns abandoned his uni Eng.Lit degree to form a band with his brother & is still in the music industry having been, meantime, a factory-worker, window-cleaner & house-painter.
  • Irish poet Roisin Tierney has taught in Dublin, Granada & Valladolid: Dream Endings (2012) won the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award & her first collection The Spanish-Italian Border (Arc, 2014) was a Forward ‘highly-commended’
  • author & award-winning journalist Mark Huband has spent the past 25 years travelling the world, from Africa and the Middle East to South-East Asia & the Americas: American Road (Live Canon, 2014) is his debut collection.
  • plus singer/songwriter Henry Fajemirokun

readings - may-jun 2015

mondays 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour

  • mon 11 may: spring into summer with r.a. villanueva, miranda peake, inua ellams, tim richardson, scarlett sabet, will burns, roisin tierney, & mark huband with henry fajemirokun
  • mon 25 may: what we should have said: an entertaining, enlightening, innovative & unpredictable spoken-word shindig with michelle boisseau, robert seatter, francis leviston, huw warren & stuart silver—plus, before the break… letterpresspoets
  • mon 8 jun: smiths knoll pamphlets: with phil hancock, marianne burton, stephen payne, lydia harris, chris dodd, margaret wilmot, philip polecoff, kath mckay & andrew kerr introduced by michael laskey & joanna cutts
  • mon 22 jun: too darn hot! invited guest poets celebrate broiling city summers, simmering heatwaves, shimmering mirages, parched deserts & tropical weather: plus 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 - jan-jun 2015

sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 at the troubadour (yeats walk, sun 21st jun 12-2.30 pm, £18)

  • may/jun workshops, further details to follow
  • sun 21 jun: land of heart’s desire: a w.b. yeats walk with c.l. dallat
  • full programme details below PayPal options

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

See full details of this season’s classes and workshops

An Evening with Tom Sleigh: looking forward to Autumn 2015 when Tom Sleigh flies in from New York for a Sunday afternoon gallery Masterclass & Monday night cellar-club reading & interview… (details of Summer 2015 below left & on readings page)

House Beyond the Last Thought

House of attainment that will never be attained,
Attic of bedsprings, innocence of old rags,
Of passé porno novels, Lust of the Pharaohs,
Confessions of a San Francisco Street Car Conductor,
Its doors are all open, porch and lintel sag.

House on a street where other houses have collapsed
And only mud-daubed nests remain, purple martins flying
In and out of wrecked eaves, house of tarpaper
Blistering blacker in the sun, in this house of mother
And first love a neuter sweetness clings.

Of stone and flesh, of many houses built over
And over on the same ground, skyscraper shadows toppling
Tenement and tanning factory a hundred years gone,
Structure of mind first roofless, windowless,
Now framed out into joists, rafters, beams.

A cross-stitch daisy or Bauhaus chair, a dog’s bowl
Of water, a millrace of shadows treading the worn stair,
House built and unbuilt for an unknown sum,
House no house where no one is home,
Its walls fall beyond any known horizon,

House that’s a screen that’s a wall that’s a screen.

Tom Sleigh
…from Far Side of the Earth (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)

spring/summer 2015 newsletter

Date: 1st January 2015

Dear Poetry Fans

Welcome to our New Year’s revolution: as our unique response to austerity & ubiquitous arts-underfunding, & as part of our mission to keep poetry not just alive & lively but accessible as well, we’re not simply NOT PUTTING UP admission, but we’re PUTTING THE CLOCK BACK to the £7 admission level we first introduced 5 years ago: it’s been £8 (£7 concs) for the past few years, but as part of making booking & payment easier via PayPal/website (& simplifying admin) we’re doing away with the concession ‘differential’ so students/concessions will yet again see no price increase & full admissions will see a real reduction.

All that holding prices & making poetry possible is a direct result of the maxed-out attendances we hit in our Troubadour60 anniversary year — a consequence, too, of the worldwide support for the Troubadour International Poetry Prize & of course, of the £5,000 first-prize sponsorship we receive from Cegin Productions.

So what else is happening cellar-club-wise in our combined Spring/Summer 2015 season? Two amazing showcases of new & familiar voices, for a start, eight poets in each, with two fun end-of-season party nights & two what-we-should’ve-said’s, as ever, & as curtain-raiser to our 9th Feb gig, a selection from last & previous years’ Troubadour Poetry Prize winners, a chance to hear again some of our judges’ best picks over the years from the poets who wrote them.

Plus a Troubadour celebration of one of our best-loved poetry institutions, Smith’s Knoll, with co-founding editor Michael Laskey introducing — along with co-editor Joanna Cutts — some of the poets they’ve admired & encouraged through magazine publication & mentorship schemes & who’ve recently appeared in Smiths Knoll Pamphlets.

And on Monday 23rd February we’ve something of a Troubadour exclusive: first London opportunity in many years to hear – & to hear from, in interview – John Montague: a seminal figure in 20c Irish poetry & a solitary voice in the North in the 1950s, John paved the way for Heaney, Longley, Mahon & the generations that followed. A long-time resident of France, he will read, & talk about the poet’s life in conversation with C.L. Dallat (plus music from World Runners).

As to those poetry-party evenings where invited guest poets take liberties with increasingly diverse themes, I’ve caved in to public pressure after last month’s Out-Of-The-Blue! — which produced such stunning poetry & a sparkling party atmosphere — & agreed to ‘yellow’, or rather Big Yellow Taxi! for our Spring event. Think Easter chicks, think Wordsworth’s daffodils fluttering & dancing in the breeze, among lots of the more electrifying, or subtler, or sinisterly shaded meanings of yellow. (Yes, having had ‘red’ & ‘blue’ parties over the past couple of years we could have completed our Kieslowski Three Colours trilogy with ‘white’ but we all know Happiness writes white!).

And our midsummer (22nd June) gathering, Too Darn Hot! has guests upping the temperature with poems of humid heat-waves & sweltering dog-days: with just a touch of hot jazz on piano & our prize-quiz which we’re hoping doesn’t end in a dead heat!

Sundays’ workshops/classes include themed workshop, A Bridge Too Far, The Magic of Realism on Latin American poets (both Troubadour Gallery) & Land of Heart’s Desire, a Chiswick literary walk celebrating the 150th birthday of London-Irish poet W.B. Yeats, with lots more Yeats/Bedford-Park events

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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