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

Thanks to all who turned out for last night’s classic Troubadour poetry extravaganza with an amazingly eclectic first half featuring (selected voices from!) Live Canon’s 154 ways of responding to a Shakespeare sonnet… &, in ‘Act II’ the unique rollercoaster poetry-round that is What We Should Have Said with three on-stage poets responding to each others’ ideas, to Stuart Silver’s discursive digressions, & to Marios Takoushis’ subtly symphonic interventions on piano…

Another season (first season of our 20th year!) almost over, with just our final pre-Christmas celebration to go, where lots of our poets come up with odes & epics, stanzas & sonnets — some their own, some by well-known poets contemporary & otherwise — on the perennially poetic theme of night, shadows, darkness, moonlight, midnight… Don’t miss Here Comes the Night! on Mon Dec 12th for a lively — & musical & quizzical — end to what’s been, so far, one of our liveliest & best-attended seasons so far!

See you all there!

PS: News of that much-requested repeat workshop below (see classes, Dec 11th).

readings - oct-dec 2016

mondays 8-10 pm, £7 at the troubadour

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

  • mon 17 oct: cornucopia: scarlett sabet, paul casey, sue boyle, john greening, afric mcglinchey, heidi williamson, angela kirby & michelle cahill
  • mon 31 oct: troubadour international poetry prize: 2016 judges jane yeh & glyn maxwell read along with prizewinners including abigail parry, kirtsen irving, barbara barnes & many more
  • mon 14 nov: guest-choice: dom bury introduces jon stone, kate wakeling, rachel long, alex mcdonald, & an eclectic set of up-&-coming new voices
  • mon 28 nov: luke kennard, louis jenkins, martina evans. marios takoushis & stuart silver in what we should have said, an entertaining, enlightening, innovative & unpredictable spoken-word shindig plus, before the break, live canon’s 154
  • mon 12 dec: here comes the night an end-of-season poetry party with invited guest readers, music & prize-quiz on the theme of darkness, midnight, moonlight…

See full details of this season’s poetry readings

classes - oct-dec 2016

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 (below programme details) or cheque to Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON W4 1ZP: if overbooked you’ll be informed by e-mail & refunded promptly

  • sun 16 oct, 2.30—5 pm: land of heart’s desire: a wb yeats walk with cl dallat
  • sun 23 oct, 12-3.30 pm: a long, dark night: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 13 nov, 12-3.30 pm: a long, dark night: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 27 nov, 12-3.30 pm: as I write this letter: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe
  • sun 11 dec, 12-3.30 pm: as I write this letter: themed writing workshop with anne-marie fyfe

See full details of this season’s classes and workshops

next event

mon 12 dec: here comes the night: an end-of-season poetry party with invited guest readers, music & prize-quiz

Hey, well here it comes, Van Morrison warns, as someone leaves the world to darkness & to Thomas Gray, Lord Byron forswears so-late-into-the-night a-roving, WH Auden’s Night Mail snorts noisily as she passes, The Platters rhapsodize over heavenly shades of night, John Lennon hears a blackbird singing in the dead of night, Charles Baudelaire reflects on the moon’s tristesse, & Louis MacNeice recalls only that the lamp was dark beside my bed…

How are they for you, the witching hours between twilight & dawn? A Long Day’s Journey, perhaps, into Eugene O’Neill’s Night, into James Thomson’s City of Dreadful Night? Or are they rich with Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune or a Frederic Chopin Nocturne, as one by one small cafés shut on Seamus Heaney’s warm Night Drive through France?

Tonight, says Leonard Bernstein, won’t be just any night…: John Donne called tonight the year’s midnight. So come along & hear invited guest poets’ favourite odes to the small hours, their own or by famous poets… Enjoy a little night-music, test your night-knowledge with our Hard Day’s Night not-too-literary prize-quiz & join in the excitement of hearing whose gets chosen as winning ’Night-Poem’ of the Night.

autumn 2016 news

Date: 18th September 2016

Dear Coffee-House Poetry Fans

Welcome back to the season of mists & mellow fruitfulness as London poet & coffee-house fan, John Keats, described it 200 years ago. And welcome back to the Troubadour Coffee-House, meeting place for London poets for a third of those 200 years with Coffee-House Poetry keeping literature alive & lively for the past 20 years!

(Of course, a number of you haven’t been away from Troubadour Poetry for too long, & in fact are not long back from our two week-long château poetry courses: if ‘course’ is the right word for lunch in the orchard, dinner in the courtyard, music, singing & dancing into the small hours but, no, we did our stuff, workshops every morning, poetry sessions late afternoon & much of the evening entertainment was, in true Troubadour style, poetry readings & literary parlour games.

And where better than the heart of France, with Perseids shooting overhead (& on one occasion bats flying in-&-out of the high château salon windows!) for workshops on ‘darkness’. We’ve a new Sunday Gallery workshop, A Long, Dark Night coming up in October but I’m not sure we can provide the rich, velvety Charente night-sky as backdrop!)

But back to those 20th-year celebrations: & what better way to celebrate than by giving Coffee-House Poetry freebies at events, & by starting the season with free tickets!

Simply book & and pay online for the first event (Mon Oct 17th) on our ‘readings’ page & note which one of the following three events (not including our end of season themed night) you’d like to book for free (use the PayPal ‘Add Note to Seller’ option while you’re paying).

Watch out for surprise guest contributions, too, as part of this year’s 20th-anniversary buzz, guests from the worlds of music, film, theatre, all with poetry connections & a love of poetry, coming along to add to our celebrations: special guest(s) at every event &, as with proper surprises, we won’t be announcing in advance, you just have to be there.

And, as always, get down to the cellar-club to hear all that’s happening poetry-wise including a range of new poetry voices at all our events: & a particular take on the zeitgeist in our new programme strand, Troubadour Guest Choice, where a poet-of-the-moment creates an event reflecting their current personal/critical choices—starting with Dom Bury’s programme on Mon 14th Nov.

Dom, already well known to Troubadour cellar-club crowds for his front-of-house presence on poetry nights & his perceptive ear when it comes to Poem of the Night at our party readings, is also a 2016 Eric Gregory Award winner, &, as a poet/critic with his finger on the pulse, is first choice to ‘guest-host’

Read more …

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

Other content: copyright © Coffee–House Poetry 2008–2016. 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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