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

Proof – if proof were needed – that we share a common language on both sides of the North Atlantic & that we share an interest in ‘uncommon language’, as 100+ packed our cellar-club cool on a hotter-than-a-Manhattan-high-summer-sidewalk evening, last Poetry Monday (11th).

And what better way to celebrate that special transatlantic poetic relationship than with three such great, & unusual, American voices, Linda Gregerson, Kathryn Maris & Sandy Solomon, all taking different tacks on poetry & language, & all of whom, incidentally, spend much time on these shores listening to English English too!

Context is everything, of course, & the setting for the 3 main readers was a complete run-down on best, & best-loved, contemporary US poetry from 21 Troubadour poets who showed fine discrimination in their choices, & real current engagement with our not-so-distant linguistic cousins: so a big thank-you – for great selections from familiar & not-so, US names, & for great readings, from Barbara Marsh, Steve Kendall, Jan Heritage, Warren Czapa, Miranda Peake, Michelle Penn, Matt Barnard, Catherine Davidson, Tim Waller, Susannah Hart, Sue Greenhill, Oliver Comins, Barbara Barnes, Martyn Crucefix, Sue Chamberlain, Tim Richardson, Diana Pooley, Matthew Paul, Lynne Hjelmgaard, Betsy De Lotbiniere, Gale Burns & June Lausch.

You’ll all know by now (if you’re on our e-list) that Louder than Words (Sun 10 Jun) was a typical sold-out/waiting-list situation so next Sunday (17th) is your chance to catch-up on what proved an extremely enjoyable & creative new Troubadour Sunday Gallery workshop on the multi-faceted joys – & otherwise – of ‘silence’: booking up already but sill a few places!

And do check out deadlines, rules & the amazing additional prizes (poetry journal subscriptions, books from top poetry publishers &, for the first time, a week’s course at the Arvon Centre of your choice, as well as usual major cash prizes) in this year’s Troubadour International Poetry Prize, judged by Jo Shapcott & Daljit Nagra & now open for submissions: & do have a look at our previous years’ winning poems.

Looking forward to a great Troubadour summer-season wrap-party on Monday 25th!

PS: Just added on the usual mid-season pop-up basis, Of night & light & the half light…, Troubadour Sunday Gallery workshop, Sun 24th Jun, & last workshop before mid-autumn, see classes page!

classes & courses - may-sep 2018

  • 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

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.

poetry mondays - 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

  • 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.

Website created and hosted by Lab 99 Web Design.