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 astounding prizewinners’ night of astonishing poems – perhaps not surprising when you got to hear just what our 2017 Troubadour International Poetry Prize judges, Michael Symmons Roberts & Imtiaz Dharker thought of the high overall standard of international submissions, how they tackled the diligent critical task of finding, first, the likeliest hundred & then winnowing down again & again, panning, as it were, for the seam of gold our audience heard tonight: with the £2,000 prize going to Katherine Pierpoint, £1,000 to Suzanne Cleary & £500 to Lindsey Holland, with a range of sponsored prizes from Troubadour Coffee-House & top poetry journals going to Soul Patel, Ali Thurm, Simon Lewis, Michael Werner, Sharon Flynn, Michael McKimm, Jay Bernard, Suellen Wedmore, Anthony Lawrence, William Johnson, Timothy Nolan, Ayesha Drury & Stephanie Norgate…

Thanks to cellist Julie-Anne Manning who started the evening beautifully & set the celebratory mood with Bach’s Sarabande (from the G-major Suite) followed by what is possibly the oldest, & certainly one of the most moving Irish airs, The Coolin; thanks to the guests who read winning poems by the prizewinners who couldn’t make it to the event, including poets Maua Dooley, & Jo Shapcott who teams up with Daljit Nagra to make next year’s 2018 Troubadour International Poetry Prize judging panel; thanks to this year’s judges for their marvellous efforts & impeccable taste; & thanks to a great audience who came out to support this year’s prizewinners.

And you can see those outstanding poems right now on our poems page, together with 10 years of previous Troubadour International Poetry Prize winning poems.

So with the exciting poetry-business of the season dealt with, it’s time for the end-of-season wrap party, a fast-flowing cascade of river-poems, our guests’ own, or their favourites by famous poets, plus fun-quiz, music etc, see next event on right, & book now via PayPal on our readings page.

See you there!

readings - oct-dec 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 16 oct: twenty-firsts: with jo shapcott, maura dooley, michael laskey & mimi khalvati plus twenty-one first-half readers including rachel donati, eleni cay, fran o’leary, charlotte baldwin, ingrid leonard, fahima sahabdeen, elaine baker, katy mack, mark huband, caroline hammond, katarina grabowksy, matthew paul, jennifer wong, fiona larkin, tessa anslow, tiffany anne tondut, louisa campbell, karen littleton, helen adie, lesley sharpe & chloe-louise adegoke
  • mon 30 oct, 8pm: charles causley, troubadour: with john mole, alyson hallett, rory waterman, cahal dallat, bernadette reed & jim causley
  • mon 13th nov, 8pm: off-the-wall wordsmiths: with lorraine mariner, a.f. harrold, jane yeh & paul Stephenson + 21 off-beat first-halfers: steve kendall, matt barnard, christopher reid, andrew ball, seraphima kennedy, diana pooley, iain whitely, roisin tierney, abigail parry, soul patel, susannah hart, kate ghyll, geraldine clarkson, mark winfield, rosie shepperd, steph morris, marianne burton, scarlett sabet, richard price, june lausch, betsy de lotbiniére & rishi dastidar
  • mon 27 nov, 8pm: troubadour international poetry prize night, with 2017 judges imtiaz dharker & michael symmons roberts read with 2017 prizewinners, plus music from the manning sisters
  • mon 11 dec, 8pm: down by the riverside, a ‘waterways’-themed poetry party

See full details of this season’s poetry readings


2018 summer poetry in the glens of antrim

sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 at the troubadour

  • sun 15 oct, 12-3.30 pm: deep river: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 29 oct, 12-3.30 pm: deep river: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 26 nov, 12-3.30 pm: a tree grows: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe

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 this season’s classes and workshops

next event

mon 11 dec, 8pm: down by the riverside, a ‘waterways’-themed poetry party

Rivers run through Alice Oswald’s Dart, Sarah Howe’s Yangtze, Philip Levine’s On the River, Mary Oliver’s At the River Clarion, Billy Collins’s Fishing on the Susquehanna in July, & Mimi Khalvati’s River Sounding, while the Thames – just a mile from the Troubadour – flows from Eliot’s Lower Thames Street pub right back to Geoffrey Chaucer (who actually lived on Upper Thames Street).

Should’ve mentioned Eliot’s Sweet Thames source, of course, Edmund Spenser’s Prothalamion, (Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song) which flows us sweetly into songs from Ewan McColl (Sweet Thames Flow Softly), Lindisfarne (Fog on the Tyne), Bruce Springsteen (The River) or Julie Driscoll (Cry Me a River)… Many Rivers to Cross, as Jimmy Cliff puts it, all flowing into the same poetic sea.

So go with that flow, on a night of the new & the well-known, some by poetry greats, contemporary & canonical, with surprises, invariably, from poets who’ve been Troubadour-Sunday River Deep workshoppers this season… And river-music will flow, as will wines from Rhine, Rhone or Napa river valleys, as the prizes in our literally littoral fun quiz with a special (drinkable) party-night bonus prize for the evening’s most powerful river poem.


Date: 26th September 2017

Dear Poetry Fans

Where are the songs of spring? John Keats asked, in his ode, To Autumn … Well for us, Autumn 2017, celebrating our 21st Coffee-House Poetry year, has more poems than spring, & more poets than ever, sixty-or-more across four great fortnightly events leading up to our Down by the Riverside end-of-season themed reading with so many more guest readers!

And some songs, some words-&-music, in the midst of all our autumn odes, in celebration (& discussion) of much-loved poet, playwright, broadcaster (& presenter of Poetry Please for many years!) Charles Causley (1917-2003) in a joint Troubadour/Causley-Trust event. As well as the obvious categories – war-poet, Celtic/West-Country poet, working-class poet – Charles was very much part of the Troubadour world of contemporary ballads & protest songs that inspired Dylan, Paul Simon & others (even had some of his poems recorded live at the Troubadour in 1966): I’ve been reading/discussing Charles’s work at centenary events around the country & the Troubadour is the perfect poetry place for a London words-&-music celebration (Mon 30 Oct).

Not that I can highlight any one of our five super events as hottest ticket of the season, as they’re all special in some way: Mon 16 Oct sees us celebrate our 21st Troubadour year with Twenty-Firsts, four major poets all of whom read for us in our first Coffee-House year, 21 years ago, & who have gone on to glittering careers & – as so often with poets – major roles in fostering new poets, many of whom make up the 21 poetry candles on our 21st-birthday cake!

There’s the inevitable excitement of Troubadour International Poetry Prize night, a high-point in the capital’s social poetry calendar, on Mon 27 Nov, with readings (& judges reports!) from Imtiaz Dharker & Michael Symmons Roberts &, of course, readings from our 2017 prizewinners announced at the event.

And if you happen to have been here at our Tom Lynch evening in June, you’ll have heard the beautiful violin-&-cello-playing of Aisling & Julie-Anne Manning, who will grace prize-night with a guest appearance, making it an even more memorable celebration for prizewinners & audience alike. Totally unmissable!

I’ve been fascinated for some time by the unexpected, unlikely angles & improbable imaginary worlds that so many poets conjure up in their Coffee-House readings & party-night floor-spots so we’ve invited some artists of the absurd, aslant & askew to an evening of offbeat obliquery, (Mon 13 Nov) with four well-known names in the second half & a range of talents in the first half.

So that’s 5 amazing fortnightly Troubadour Poetry Mondays, with one Troubadour Sunday Gallery workshop posted so far …

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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