“… 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
Tuesday 8th July
Huge end-of-season thanks to all who made last night’s event — and the past two seasons’ events — such a pleasure & such a success: thanks to everyone who read at our Stop All The Clocks! themed event, to those who took part in the slightly fiendish poetry quiz, to all who packed out both season’s readings, to Wendy, Matt, Jen & Helen on the door, to the incredibly helpful Robert, Michael & others who set-up the venue & keep the cellar-club drinks flowing, to our singers & musicians who add to Coffee-House Poetry’s distinctive words-&-music ethos (including Christine Tobin & band, Bernadette Reed & accompanists, Henry Fajemirokun, Huw Warren & Marios Takoushis) and, of course, to all the great named, billed, interviewed, improvised, showcased & newly-launched poets who make up a season’s Troubadour fare.
Our autumn events include ‘an evening with Roger McGough’ (as in this season’s popular Paul-Muldoon format), an evening of US poets, a Poetry School reading, the ever-inventive What We Should Have Said where we’ve learned to expect the unexpected, and, of course, party night & a mega-celebration for the winners of our £5,000 2014 Troubadour International Poetry Prize, sponsored by Cegin Productions & open for submissions all through the summer.
I’m off to Armagh for an intensively poetry-filled week of literature & the arts at the Twenty-Seventh Annual John Hewitt International Summer School (28th Jul—1st Aug) & then off to run my usual French residential poetry week, this time at Château L’Age Baston, Angoulême (9th—16th Aug)…
Have a great poetry summer, see you all in October!
Autumn 2014, check website for event details from mid-September
readings - may-jul 2014 - troubadour60
mondays 8-10 pm, £8 (concs. £7)
advance booking: 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
- watch this space for details of Autumn 2014’s events…
See full details of this season’s poetry readings
classes - may-jul 2014 - troubadour60
sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 (concs. £24)
advance booking only, as our workshops/classes (limited to 15 attendees) are frequently oversubscribed: send cheque payable to Coffee-House Poetry (no credit cards) to Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP
- watch this space for details of Autumn 2014 workshops/classes…
See full details of this season’s classes and workshops
…off on hols, time to write at last! (image: bizarrverlag)
POSTCARDS TO OREGON
An angular figure tracks shapes
on the frost-packed shore. An Etruscan
town-plan waiting for tides to turn.
Sunday mornings rich with pilchard sauce.
First morning of October’s rental,
ill-matched furnishings, remains of summer’s
unexpired lease, front-lot rank
with shot garlic. Inside
a 1950s Frigidaire shudders into life.
I stamp postcards to Oregon and Seattle.
Between clearly articulated lanes and alleys
the angled figure sculpts earthworks,
drinks from a litre Evian bottle.
Third lines are invariably hardest.
I set aside the pen and seek out
an enamel coffee-pot, a means
of lighting gas, a passable cup.
Tarpaulined between runway and fence,
the small planes…
By noon, a new Atlantis at his feet,
this man possessed builds his castle
wilfully close to ebb and flow,
dredges a shin-deep moat
that fills as he digs; perfects
crenellated ramparts, sand drawbridges,
one tall keep, a kelp flag for pennant.
We build against oblivion.
A morning’s drafts go in the flip-top bin.
…from Understudies: New & Selected Poems (Seren, 2010)
summer 2014 newsletter
Date: 12th May 2014
Dear Coffee-House Poetry fans
Great to be back at the Troubadour after my stateside tour of venues, colleges, cafés, writers’ centres, lectures & festivals from Minnesota to Rhode Island & all points between, including a month in Manhattan (with a few of my own readings too, of course, those following the tour on FB know all this already): so lots of exciting US poets coming up in the Autumn as part of Troubadour60, celebrating the venue’s 60 years as the last of London’s writers’-&’-artists’ coffee-houses.
But coming up this season is someone who belongs to the US and to us, New Yorker editor & Manhattan- resident, Paul Muldoon who has taught at Princeton and been Oxford Professor of Poetry: in a popular Troubadour format like that of our Mark Doty event last autumn & the forthcoming Roger McGough event in November, Paul will give a reading & interview, with music, in this case from former Lammas vocalist Christine Tobin whose 2012 album of Yeats settings, Sailing to Byzantium was judged an unqualified masterpiece by Jazzwise magazine.
The season kicks off on Mon 26th May with a dazzling evening of familiar & first-collection poets, led by bestselling novelist Louis de Bernières with his new collection of poems for Constantine Cavafy, Imagining Alexandria. Our Mon 9th June ‘evening with Paul Muldoon’ is followed on 23rd June by another mercurially impromptu mix of music, musings & metre with this season’s What We Should Have Said poetical interventions involving Helen Mort, Imtiaz Dharker & Philip Gross, and we round off our Troubadour60 summer season on 7th July with invited guest poets reading on a clock-wise theme: sestinas on stopwatches, hakius on half-hours, odes to horology, aphorisms on alarm clocks… Always an imaginative & inspiring poetic evening.
And speaking of clocks, our Sun 8th June workshop will have lots of you writing watch-&-clock poems, where locked rooms on Sun 6th July should open a few doors in the imagination: and by contrast to those locked rooms Coffee-House Poetry goes al fresco with a W.B. Yeats walk around West London literary landmarks as part of Chiswick’s Bedford Park Festival on Sun 15th June. A busy summer season of poetry happenings!
Great to come back, too, to a flood of early entries for the new, high-profile Troubadour International Poetry Prize with £7,000 in prizes, with the £5,000 first-prize sponsored by Cegin Productions in recognition of the work Coffee-House Poetry’s doing for poetry, and the prestige & affection with which the prize & venue are regarded not only by all you Troubadour fans, but by so many worldwide who don’t get down to the cellar-club nights but who are part of the wider Troubadour crowd (& growing…) I do enjoy e-mails from so many who would love to make it here from wherever, and it’s great to meet you when you turn up at our gigs!
…all outstandingly unsubsidised good value at a mere £8 per event (£7 concessions) with season tickets
Read more …