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

An unexpected change in weather for last night’s Weather Report themed poetry-party with an ambient 12deg outdoors & the usual Troubadour poetry-hot-spot ambience in the cellar-club: great atmospherics, lots of sudden highs, no lows, no pressure, & a whirlwind of weather-poems whipping up a storm (haven’t tired of meteorological puns just yet…)

… though we had at least as many sun-bleached afternoons & spring breezes as fogs & shivering rainfall from the dozens who read out of the 100+ who enjoyed the poetry, the weather-wise quiz, Stormy Weather as a finale from singer, Bernadette Reed, & ‘poem-of-the-evening’ (from Steve Kendall) about a 7-yr-old with a weather obsession & all the gear — a poem with an unexpected undertow…

Weather theme ends with a (third!) outing for our In the Clouds Sunday Gallery workshop next Sunday (Sun 26th Feb, check it out on classes page) & great to hear some great clouds poems from this year’s first two Sunday sessions.

readings - jan-jun 2017

mondays 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour

for advance booking: pay via PayPal (on readings page) or cheque to Coffee-House Poetry at PO Box 16210, LONDON W4 1ZP

  • mon 23 jan: salon d’hiver with abigail parry, raymond antrobus, susan wicks, matthew caley, rachel long, alex josephy, wendy klein & cliff yates plus singer/guitarist henry fajemirokun
  • mon 6 feb: sibling poetries with maura dooley, tim dooley & terence dooley swap poems & themes in an inventive impromptu, plus, before the break, faber academy alumni
  • mon 20 feb: weather report: poetry party with invited guest readers, music & prize-quiz on/around the themes of sun, wind, rain, showers, snow…
  • easter break
  • mon 15 may: spring fever: with elaine gaston, jon stone, claire dyer, alistair noon, ruth sharman, nick makoha, michael scott & penny boxall plus singer/guitarist henry fajemirokun
  • mon 29 may states of writing: with d. nurkse, reading & in-conversation plus, before the break, students from university of north florida, plus singer/guitarist mark ari
  • mon 12 jun: a matter of life & death: the much-loved, & award-winning, michigan poet, essayist & undertaker, thomas lynch, reading & in-conversation
  • mon 26 jun: planet earth: poetry party with guest readers, music & prize-quiz on the theme of planets & perseids, stars & satellites, orbits, galaxies & constellations…

See full details of this season’s poetry readings

classes - jan-jun 2017

sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 at the troubadour

advance booking only as our workshops/classes (limited to 15 attendees) are frequently oversubscribed: pay via PayPal (see classes page) or cheque to Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON W4 1ZP: if overbooked you’ll be informed by e-mail & refunded promptly

  • sun 29 jan, 12-3.30 pm: in the clouds: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 12 feb, 12-3.30 pm: in the clouds: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe*
  • sun 26 feb, 12-3.30 pm: in the clouds: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 28 may, 12-3.30 pm: masterclass: critical workshop with d. nurkse (now fully booked)
  • sun 11 jun, 12-3.30 pm: genre bending: writing workshop with thomas lynch (now fully booked)
  • & do check website later for further jan-jun workshops or join our newsletter

See full details of this season’s classes and workshops

next event

mon 15 may: spring fever: with elaine gaston, jon stone, claire dyer, alistair noon, ruth sharman, nick makoha, michael scott & penny boxall, plus singer/guitarist henry fajemirokun

Step into summer with superb poetry from some super summer-season Troubadour poets:

  • Elaine Gaston (latest collection, The Lie of the Land, Doire, 2015) lectures at Ulster University, has won the Seamus Heaney Centre/No-Alibis award & had poems in Poetry Ireland: The Rising Generation;
  • London-based Jon Stone won Poetry London’s annual competition in 2014 & 2016, & co-edited, with Kirsten Irving, the four-volume Birdbook project: his School of Forgery (Salt, 2012) is a PBS Recommendation;
  • Claire Dyer’s poetry collections, Eleven Rooms & Interference Effects are published by Two Rivers Press. Her novels, The Moment & The Perfect Affair & her short story Falling for Gatsby are published by Quercus;
  • Alistair Noon has lived in Berlin since the early 90s. His publications include two collections from Nine Arches Press, Earth Records (2012), shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize, & The Kersoene Singing (2015);
  • French translator Ruth Sharman lives in Bath; Birth of the Owl Butterflies, title poem of her debut collection, won an Arvon 2nd prize: her latest collection, Scarlet Tiger (2016) won the Straid Collection Award;
  • Nick Makoha, whose debut, The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man launched the Flippedeye pamphlet series, is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, won the Brunel International African Poetry Award, & represented Uganda at the London Cultural Olympiad’s Poetry Parnassus;
  • Michael Scott co-founded the Swindon Festival of Poetry: his debut chapbook Little Usherette (Red Ceilings Press, 2016) has been described as like Citizen Kane written on the back of a fag packet;
  • Penny Boxall’s debut collection is Ship of the Line (Eyewear, 2014); she won both the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award & first prize in the 2016 Elmet Poetry Competition;
  • plus singer/guitarist Henry Fajemirokun


Date: 6th January 2017

Dear Poetry Fans

A surprising Christmas to New Year break with bright days, clear skies, mild nights, & some time for blue-skies thinking, quite literally, as our first Sunday Gallery workshop, In the Clouds, explores clouds in all their impressive & oppressive magnificence & tedium, our first party night, Weather Report, celebrates meteorological poetry (or poems with at least a tenuous weather connection!) & Planet Earth, our midsummer celebration — under classic clear solstice night skies — will have us listening to (& reading) poems on planets, perseids, meteor showers & every known form of heavenly body.

But time for metaphorical blue-skies thinking too, as our recent programmes (& the very successful autumn season which kicked off our 20th Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour year) show, it’s very much your Troubadour, with more & more of our first-halves affording new & aspiring poets a chance to read on the famous Troubadour stage, whether as Dom Bury’s ‘before the break’ guest choices or Live Canon’s Shakespearean sonneteers last season or, this time, University of North Florida MFA students, & poetry alumni of London’s Faber Academy.

Both our showcases (in January & May) feature eight new poets or poets with new collections: & our party nights allow an increasing number of invited guest poets, Troubadour favourites & poets who are regular audience or workshop members, to read to an always-imaginative theme.

And when we talk of Troubadour favourites, among the outstanding successes of recent seasons has been our ‘evenings-with’ format, a mix of readings & conversation: & this time our guests are real Troubadour favourites: Thomas Lynch, who last read for us in 1999 when his Colloquies on life & death had just aired on Radio 4: since then his essays Bodies in Motion and at Rest, & his poems, have had major international success, & we’ve long been trying to have him back over from Michigan for a reading & workshop. And although Dennis Nurkse read only a year ago, reaction was so overwhelming (audience comments on the night, & yes, I do read all your e-mails!) that I’ve persuaded him to a return visit with both a Monday night event & a Sunday afternoon masterclass.

Both these poets’ readings & both their classes are sure to be in demand so booking as early as possible is advisable to avoid disappointment (via Paypal on readings & classes pages, or by cheque, see address below).

In terms of innovation, Troubadour audiences will certainly know of both Maura Dooley & Tim Dooley in the London poetry world, & may know of Terence Dooley as a West Country poet & a familiar name in poetry magazines. We’re not sure that any other venue anywhere has yet hosted three siblings reading together,

Read more …

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

Other content: copyright © Coffee–House Poetry 2008–2017. 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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