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

After that short unwind at the end of an incredibly popular first season of our 20th Troubadour year (thanks, all you poets & audience members), it’s great to be back in poetry-nights mode with our Mon 23rd Jan salon featuring an amazing showcase of poets-of-the-moment, & kicking-off the new season that runs through to midsummer.

And do check out the full programme as we have two Troubadour return visits by major US poets, D. Nurkse with a Sunday Gallery masterclass on Sun 28 May & cellar-club reading/interview, States of Writing, on Mon 29th, & Thomas Lynch with a Sun 11th June workshop & a reading/in-conversation, A Matter of Life & Death, on Mon 12th… All four events are likely to sell-out very quickly, so do check them out now on our readings & classes pages.

Also just one of my themed creative-writing workshops, In the Clouds, currently up on classes page, after which Sunday Gallery workshop sessions are on a pop-up basis so do keep coming back to the website to see what’s new &, if you’re not on already, enrol for our newsletter with news & reminders of events, workshops & classes &, very soon, news of the 2017 Troubadour International Poetry Prize judges, rules, deadlines etc… (Don’t forget you can check out previous winners from 2007 to 2016 on our poems page).

Look forward to seeing lots of you at Mon 23rd’s Salon d’Hiver!

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 28 may, 12-3.30 pm: masterclass: critical workshop with d. nurkse
  • sun 11 jun, 12-3.30 pm: genre bending: writing workshop with thomas lynch
  • & 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 23 jan, 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour 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

Kick out the winter blues with this classic Troubadour poetry night that’s all about happening poets & latest publications:

  • London-based toymaker/Eng.Lit.-teacher Abigail Parry won the 2016 Troubadour International Poetry Prize; her work has appeared in various journals & in the anthologies The Best British Poetry 2011 & Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam;
  • British-Jamaican poet/educator & events curator Raymond Antrobus (b. Hackney) is one of the first recipients of a Goldsmith’s Spoken Word Education MA; 2nd pamphlet, To Sweeten Bitter (due from Outspoken, Apr’17);
  • Susan Wicks has won (among many awards) both Aldeburgh First Collection Prize & Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize; her seventh collection, The Months (Bloodaxe, 2016), is a PBS Recommendation;
  • Matthew Caley (5th collection, Rake, Bloodaxe, 2016) has read in Prague, Paris & Novi Sad, among many places; his last two collections, Apparently, & Professor Glass, both featured on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb;
  • Rachel Long is Assistant Tutor on Barbican Young Poets programme, founded Octavia poetry collective for women of colour (at Southbank Centre) & has been commissioned by BBC & Courtauld Institute;
  • based in London & Italy, Alex Josephy (pamphlet, Other Blackbirds, Cinnamon, 2016) has won The McLellan Prize & Battered Moons Prize, & was Poet-in-Residence at Rainham Hall gardens in Essex in 2016;
  • US- born Wendy Klein has two collections from Cinnamon, Cuba in the Blood & Anything in Turquoise (2013), plus Mood Indigo (2016) from Oversteps, & has won Buxton, Havant & Cannon poetry competitions;
  • Cliff Yates (b. Birmingham, latest collection, Jam, Smith/Doorstop, 2016) is RLF Fellow at Aston University, won Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, & wrote Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School (Poetry Society, 1999) when Poetry Society poet-in-residence;
  • 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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