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

Back from the fascinating week of literature & the arts that is the John Hewitt International Summer School, & from the most-productive/best-fun ever French residential poetry week, this time at Château L’Age Baston, Angoulême… & gearing up (how much excitement can anyone take?) for what looks like being the liveliest poetry-basement reading season ever… plus two great workshops & a Sunday seminar on Seamus Heaney’s poetry, & – of course – a mega-cellar-club-celebration for the winners of our £5,000 2014 Troubadour International Poetry Prize, sponsored by Cegin Productions & open for submissions through to 20th October.

See you all in October!

next event

mon 6 oct: stateside troubadours with poets: philip fried, margo taft stever, tim nolan, susana case, robert peake, jennifer militello, daphne warburg astor & owen lewis with henry fajemirokun

In celebration of the Troubadour’s American links over the past 60 years, we present an evening of US poets…

  • Manhattan Review editor Philip Fried, is based in New York; Early/Late: New & Selected Poems from Salmon (2011) draws on his first 4 collections of poetry; his latest Salmon collection is Interrogating Water (2013)
  • Margo Taft Stever founded Hudson Valley Writers’ Center & Slapering Hol Press; her award-winning first collection was Frozen Spring & her latest is The Hudson Line (Main Street Rag, 2012)
  • Tim Nolan’s 2013 Troubadour Poetry Prize poem is shortlisted for the Forward Best Single Poem Prize; Tim is a lawyer, lives in Minneapolis, & has published two collections including And Then (New Rivers, 2012)
  • poet & sociologist Susana Case is a professor at NY Institute of Technology: her collections range from The Scottish Café (2002) to 4 Rms w Vu (Mayapple Press, 2014)
  • Robert Peake is a British-American poet living near London, he created the Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading series; 1st-collection The Knowledge due from Nine Arches Press, 2015
  • Jennifer Millitello lives in Goffstown NH, & has taught at Brown Univ. & Rhode Island School of Design in Providence RI; finalist in the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, her first collection is Body Thesaurus (Tupelo, 2013)
  • artist & Faber-Academy poet Daphne Warburg Astor was part of the C4RD online residency & collaborated with Jason Hicklin on From Co. Donegal to the Inner Hebrides: Drawings & Etchings (2009)
  • psychiatrist & professor at Columbia Univ., Owen Lewis has published extensively in professional journals; his first poetry chapbook was March in San Miguel (Finishing Line, 2012) & first collection is Sometimes Full of Daylight (Dos Madres, 2013)
  • with songs from guitarist Henry Fajemirokun

readings - oct-dec 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

  • mon 6 oct: stateside troubadours with poets: philip fried, margo taft stever, tim nolan, susana case, robert peake, jennifer millitello, daphne warburg astor & owen lewis with henry fajemirokun
  • mon 20 oct: what we should have said: an entertaining, enlightening, innovative & unpredictable spoken-word shindig with paul farley, jean sprackland, richard douglas pennant, marios takoushis & stuart silver
  • mon 3 nov: an evening with roger mcgough: leading liverpool poet, performer & radio4 poetry presenter, roger mcgough, with songs from bernadette reed
  • mon 17 nov: poetry school poets: plus poetry school tutors mimi khalvati & tamar yoseloff with songs from rosie taylor
  • mon 1 dec: eighth annual troubadour international poetry prize night: neil astley, amy wack & 2014 prizewinners
  • mon 15 dec: out of the blue! azure-themed end-of-season reading with invited guest poets & favourite poems of blue eyes, Mediterranean seas, indigo nights, deep blue moods…

See full details of this season’s poetry readings

classes - oct-dec 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

  • sun 9 nov, locked rooms: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 7 dec, electric light: a seamus heaney seminar with c.l. dallat
  • sun 14 dec, stop all the clocks: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe

NB: each of the above workshops was over-subscribed last season & has a waiting list but all 3 have places available…

See full details of this season’s classes and workshops

Philip Fried, one of 8 ‘stateside troubadours’ reading at the troubadour on Mon 6th Oct

Short Line Driver (in the Garden State)

Not God but the lead-footed, combustible
bus-driver steers our destinies—
no appeals except to the wheel.
So bouncing in potholes, no matter the wobble
in the spin, the wandering poles, the rifting
plates, we ply our cosmic commute,

with her keen eye in the rear-view mirror
to check out reckless comets, ensure
we leave no litter, just a molecular
flurry, little stuff, when we leave.
Her uniform, custom designed by the Line,
features gilded cuffs and crescent-

moon-shaped epaulets like scythes
at the shoulders; it’s a pleasure to wake
each working morning to find her driving
us to work, but what a temper:
the chatter of billions, stuffed with banality’s
weightless luggage, drives her crazy.

Good thing there’s a fraternity
of drivers, the jocular shock-absorbers,
kidding on two-way radios
about asteroid traffic, mocking the daily
fool, some soul at the bus-stop
confusing your local run with the time-

warp express to the end of it all.
She smirks, they all do, at this poor
petitioner who appears at her soon-
to-be-shut door, smirks from the official
condescending height of her gritty
weather-streaked vehicle and croons,

“Honey, it’s coming in twenty, just
hang on.” Petty sadism, yes, but
who else will speak for combustion, exhaust
gases, thermal cycles, imperfect
reactions, inevitable losses,
residue? Who else will get us through?

Philip Fried

autumn 2014 newsletter

Date: 1st September 2014

Dear Autumn Poets

Great to be back in town for the final season of our Troubadour60 year, a fizzingly celebratory line-up that features Troubadour favourites like Roger McGough (in-conversation!), Mimi Khalvati, Neil Astley, Paul Farley, Amy Wack, Tamar Yoseloff & Jean Sprackland, along with a selection of transatlantic poets in our kick-off US showcase, our 2014 Poetry Prize winners, a school of up-&-coming Poetry School poets & the best of London’s trending poets at our end-of season party (with its blue, blue theme).

I’m just settling in after an exciting Jul/Aug, with a poetry-filled, as always, Hewitt Summer School week in Armagh, & an even more poetry-packed time at L’Age Baston, in France, where Troubadour regulars escaped from summer-in-the-city to workshop daily in a luxury château & its inspirational landscape: plus dejeuners al-fresco, village walks, discussions under Van-Gogh starry night skies , literary quizzes, readings, fiendish mind-games, charades, story-telling, & yes, in true Troubadour cellar-club style, singing into the small hours, & much jiving…

More news of next year’s residential courses here on website — in due course — & by e-mail, if you’ve signed up for our newsletter. You’ll also notice that creative-writing workshops this season repeat some of last season’s titles as so many were disappointed when the new themes booked-up so quickly…

Meanwhile I’m looking forward to the usual high standard of submissions for the (eighth!) Troubadour International Poetry Prize with, for the first time ever, a £5,000 first prize sponsored by Cegin Productions. And looking forward to a great prize-winners event on 1st Dec.

Advance-booking’s particularly recommended for the Roger McGough (plus music, plus interview) night as Roger has such wide appeal, & as our ‘evening-with’ events invariably end as ‘standing-room only’, as with Paul Muldoon, Mark Doty, Billy Collins, Jorie Graham etc…

Read more …

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

Other content: copyright © Coffee–House Poetry 2008–2014. 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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