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

Welcome back to an exciting Summer 2016 season in the run-up to our twentieth Coffee-House Poetry year starting this Autumn.

Great to be back from a busy US tour where (along with readings etc) I had the opportunity of promoting the tenth Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2016, with judges Jane Yeh & Glyn Maxwell, & with £7,000 & more in prizes, at AWP in Los Angeles. Check out rules/dates/info & do read some of our nine-years’-worth of wonderful former winners….

And do please remember our new prize-submission deadline of Tue 21 June with results in August & prize-giving in October.

Lots happening in May & June from our Across Oceans exchange on 9th May, with three high-profile award-winning poets adding to the dazzle in our What We Should Have Said words-&-music format on 23rd, a highly topical debate on print vs online poetry in June with four poets each with a special interest in the topic (& each with some great poems in the first half!), & an end-of-season party theme that ties in with a new — & slightly strange — Sunday workshop exploration Invisible Cities.

Look forward to seeing lots of you in the cool of the Troubadour’s summer city garden over the next couple of months!

next event

mon 9 may, 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour across oceans: with d. nurkse, geraldine paine, lynne hjelmgaard, paul deaton, robert peake, claire williamson & joshua weiner plus henry fajemirokun

A US/UK evening featuring voices from both sides of the Atlantic:

  • D. Nurkse lives in New York, has written on human rights issues & worked with Amnesty International, & has published 10 poetry collections including A Night in Brooklyn (Knopf, 2012, CB Editions, 2013)
  • Lecturer & former actress Geraldine Paine lives in Kent, is a founder member of poetry group Scatterlings & has two Lapwing pamphlets, latest, The Beginnings of Trees (2013)
  • Former art-teacher & sailor, Lynne Hjelmgaard (b. NYC), moved to Denmark in 1971 & now lives in London & Copenhagen: latest from Seren, A Boat Called Annalise (2016)
  • Bristol-based art-consultant & runner, Paul Deaton has had poems in The Spectator, PN Review, London Magazine & The Dark Horse: his debut poetry pamphlet Black Knight has just been published by Eyewear
  • US-born Robert Peake (now lives in Hertfordshire) created the Transatlantic Poetry series: Nine Arches Press published his first full-length poetry collection, The Knowledge, in 2015
  • Claire Williamson has written libretti for Welsh National Opera & Bristol Plays Music: latest poetry publication Split Ends (Eyewear, 2016)
  • Boston-born Joshua Weiner grew up in New Jersey, studied at Northwestern & Berkeley, & edited At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn: his latest poetry collection is The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (Univ. Chicago, 2013)
  • plus guitarist & singer Henry Fajemirokun

readings - may-jun 2016

mondays 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour

for advance booking: pay via PayPal (below programme details) or send cheque payable to Coffee-House Poetry at PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP

  • mon 9 may: across oceans: with d. nurkse, geraldine paine, lynne hjelmgaard, paul deaton, robert peake, claire williamson & joshua weiner plus henry fajemirokun
  • mon 23 may: sarah howe, michael symmons roberts, caitriona o’reilly, marios takoushis & stuart silver in what we should have said, an entertaining, enlightening, innovative & unpredictable spoken-word shindig plus, before the break, faber academy poets
  • mon 6 jun: the end of the page?: a coffee-house colloquy, with hannah lowe, gregory leadbetter, richard price, carrie etter & c.l. dallat
  • mon 20 jun: the hidden life of cities: An end-of-season poetry party with invited guest readers, music & prize-quiz

See full details of this season’s poetry readings

classes - may-jun 2016

sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 at the troubadour (yeats walk £18 from ravenscourt park tube)

  • sun 15 may, 12-3.30 pm: invisible cities: themed writing workshop anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 19 jun, 2.30—5 pm: land of heart’s desire: a wb yeats walk with cl dallat
  • check website later for further may-jun workshops/classes…

& coming up…

advance booking only as our workshops/classes (limited to 15 attendees) are frequently oversubscribed: pay via PayPal below programme details or send cheque payable to Coffee-House Poetry 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

d. nurkse & joshua weiner: two of the US poets featured in ‘across oceans’, mon 9 may


A Night in Brooklyn by D. Nurkse

We undid a button,
turned out the light,
and in that narrow bed
we built the great city—
water towers, cisterns,
hot asphalt roofs, parks,
septic tanks, arterial roads,
Canarsie, the intricate channels,
the seacoast, underwater mountains,
bluffs, islands, the next continent,
using only the palms of our hands
and the tips of our tongues, next
we made darkness itself, by then
it was time for dawn
and we closed our eyes
and counted to ourselves
until the sun rose
and we had to take it all to pieces
for there could be only one Brooklyn.

…from A Night in Brooklyn (Knopf, 2012, CB Editions, 2013)

Found Letter by Joshua Weiner

What makes for a happier life, Josh, comes to this:
Gifts freely given, that you never earned;
Open affection with your wife and kids;
Clear pipes in winter, in summer screens that fit;
Few days in court, with little consequence;
A quiet mind, a strong body, short hours
In the office; close friends who speak the truth;
Good food, cooked simply; a memory that’s rich
Enough to build the future with; a bed
In which to love, read, dream, and re-imagine love;
A warm, dry field for laying down in sleep,
And sleep to trim the long night coming;
Knowledge of who you are, the wish to be
None other; freedom to forget the time;
To know the soul exceeds where it’s confined
Yet does not seek the terms of its release,
Like a child’s kite catching at the wind
That flies because the hand holds tight the line.

…from The Book of Giants (University of Chicago Press, 2006)

summer 2016 news

Date: 21st April 2016

Dear Coffee-House Poetry Supporters

Great to be back from the sunny California coastline just as summer (& cherry blossom) breaks out all over West London & Monday evening drinks-before-poetry in the Troubadour garden beckon: followed, of course, by the coolest cellar-club poetry, the hottest ticket in town, in this run-up to our extra-special celebratory twentieth Troubadour autumn!

So back (appropriately, after 6 weeks across the Atlantic, much of it up on Facebook) to one of our long-standing Coffee-House Poetry aims, widening the boundaries of the poetry we hear here in London as 9th May’s Across Oceans brings together a mix of American, British, British-American & American/European voices, ranging from names such as D. Nurkse & Joshua Weiner with their numerous publications to great new poets with first collections & debut pamphlets.

All part of Coffee-House Poetry’s widening scope with the international Troubadour Prize, an anthology project, taking the What We Should Have Said spoken-word-&-music format on the road, our two residential weeks in the Charente this August, & plans for future courses in other suitably inspirational locations.

Few line-ups could be more exciting in awards terms, though, than bringing together this year’s TS Eliot Prize-winner, Sarah Howe, with this year’s Irish Times Poetry Now-winner, Caitriona O’Reilly, plus multi-award-winner Michael Symmons Roberts, all swopping ideas from the ether in Coffee-House Poetry’s unstoppable poetry impromptu, the unique What We Should Have Said segué, inspired by Perrier-Award-winning writer-director Stuart Silver, sparkling with the imaginative inventions & interventions of film-&-TV composer Marios Takoushis (Best Music At 5th Malataya Film Festival): a starry, starry night…

And our Bohemian Earls Court coffee-house remains, as it’s been since its inception in the ‘50s, & as London’s coffee-houses have always been, a place not just to hear outstanding poetry but to consider the state-of-the-poetic-art in stimulating, controversial Colloquies. This season our four protagonists, all leading poets & thinkers, exchange ideas & invite opinions on the relative merits of print vs online poetry publication, surf-world vs slim-volume, hypertext vs hard copy, in a significant battleground for poetry’s future. After, of course, giving us a taste-of-the-poetic-art in the first half!

And while the Troubadour’s long been one of London’s best-known cellar-clubs, few city-dwellers can fail to be fascinated by the hidden life of cities lurking behind shuttered stores, abandoned warehouses, in railway arches, down cellar steps, up narrow alleyways, along forgotten footpaths,

Read more …

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

Other content: copyright © Coffee–House Poetry 2008–2016. 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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