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

pic: prize-winner (at Sounds & Silence) Katerina Grabowsky (centre) with friends Scarlett Sabet & Jimmy Page

It’s a wrap — end to another hectic programme (& thanks to all you great audience members & guest poets for your support) — & what a wrap party (such numbers despite the capital’s hottest day) with amazingly diverse, eclectic, didactic, subtle & unexpected poem choices on the unlikeliest of themes: Sounds & Silence!

Congratulations to Katerina Grabowsky (above) – who collected the night’s bonus prize for best contribution out of a stunning field of Troubadour poets (mostly audience regulars) from points as diverse as Cambridge, Maidstone, Brighton & Oxford… The bonus prize wine-label is always chosen to complement the evening’s theme, ‘Barefoot’ Pinot Grigio subtly linking to ideas of Sounds & Silence, just as so many of the poems/poem-choices worked subtly & elegantly around the aural/inaudible world.

And top quiz-prize went to the high-scoring table of Mary Gurr, Jo Roach & Stewart Carswell, a 100% music round & a creditable 90%+ on poetry, film, & quirky, unconsidered general-knowledge trifles.

So I’m off to Orkney, with much of the next 3 months in Scotland, Ireland, Wales & the West Country (check out The Voyage Out) & no more #sundaygallery sessions – or #poetrymondays – for now, but do check website at summer’s end or, even better, sign-up to be among the first to hear about autumn’s events & workshops as they’re posted!

And we’re not leaving you unpoetically poetry-less in the high days of July & August, as there’s still the tempting Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2018 to inspire (& incentivise) your summer scribblings! Judged by Jo Shapcott & Daljit Nagra, it’s now open for submissions & offers a great range of prizes including, for the first time, an Arvon course at the centre of your choice, plus this year’s selection of sponsored prizes from notable literary magazines & poetry presses: & do have a look at our previous years’ winning poems.

See you back in the city when it all cools down a little: have a great summer wherever you are, whatever you’re reading — and writing, writing, writing!!!

#sundaygallery classes & courses - may-sep 2018

… on summer break just now — check website later for details of autumn #sundaygallery workshops or sign-up to receive e-mail updates

  • sun 10 & sun 17 jun, 12-3.30 pm: louder than words: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 10 & sun 17 jun 2.30-5 pm, £18: land of heart’s desire: ‘wb yeats’ literary walks with cahal dallat
  • sun 24 jun, 12-3.30 pm: of night & light & the half light: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • mon 27 aug to sat 1 sep, summer poetry in the glens of antrim, residential week with anne-marie fyfe & cahal dallat

troubadour gallery 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

See full details of classes and workshops

next event

… on summer break just now — check website later for details of autumn #poetrymondays or sign-up to receive e-mail updates

mon 25 jun, 8pm: sounds & silence: a themed poetry-party

Noise & its absence have long divided poets & philosophers: silence is golden, apparently, — Whatever you say, say nothing, says Seamus Heaney, with Wordsworth waxing lyrical on the bliss of solitude.

Yet poetry’s continually working its own aural, audible music, its subtle sound-effects… & the mere mention of traffic noise, the barking dog, distant voices, a Sunday lawn-mower, a jarring ringtone or forgotten album track, all instantly conjure up place, time, mood & emotion!

WB Yeats longed for peace, far from the rumbling city, but still ached for the sound of lake water lapping: Thomas Hardy was redeemed from centennial gloom by the ecstatic sound of a darkling thrush, TS Eliot peppered his poetry with snatches of overheard conversation, while Emily Dickinson was wary of the taciturn: I fear a Silent man she admits, a sentiment seemingly echoed by Geoffrey Hill’s Speech! Speech!

So noise & its opposite number continue to battle it out, between Douglas Dunn’s The Noise of a Fly & Fiona Sampson’s Rough Music, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Silence & Brian Turner’s Phantom Noise, between Brian Moore’s Lies of Silence & Robert Crawford’s Full Volume…

Come along & listen to the sound of our guest poets reading poems aloud(!), their own or by other poets, on the subject of either sounds or silence, hubbub or tranquility, chatter or taciturnity… listen to the sounds of silence-themed music, join in our supersonic prize quiz & speculate (quietly) on who’ll win the night’s bonus prize for the best, or best-sounding, poem on the theme of sound … or silence.

#poetrymondays - may-jun 2018

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

… on summer break just now — check website later for details of autumn #poetrymondays or sign-up to receive e-mail updates

  • mon 28 may: first things first: amy key, mary jean chan, claudine toutoungi & eleni cay along with 21 poets reading — for the first time — new poems on first things
  • mon 11 jun: uncommon language: with american poets kathryn maris, sandy solomon & linda gregerson plus: 21 poets read their favourite american poems…
  • mon 25 jun: sounds & silence: a themed poetry-party with poems, music & prize-quiz

See full details of poetry readings

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

Other content: copyright © Coffee–House Poetry 2008–2018. 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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