Category Archives: Events

Real Actual Live Poetry at The Questors Theatre

Our landlord is hosting its own poetry event on the Sunday before Christmas.  We are always happy to promote a suitable appreciation of the muse:


A Partridge in a Pear Tree – An Evening of Seasonal Poetry

Do you know what is missing from the modern Christmas?  Soot-covered urchins, perhaps, or extra helpings of figgy pudding?  Or maybe it’s the naked candles perched on the tinder-dry Christmas Tree?

Actually, it’s none of those.  What’s most missing from a modern Christmas is Poetry!  Gone are the days of families gathered around the fire on Christmas Eve to regale each other with witty verse and dodgy accents.  No more the lovers sharing a sonnet beneath the mistletoe.  And who will save the grand old tradition of forgetting the half the words?

We will, that’s who!  We have gathered together some of Questors most Christmassy actors for an evening of good clean family fun that’s not too heavy on the piety and doesn’t overdose on the rosy-cheeked orphans.  There will be some familiar favourites and some forgotten treats.  There might even be the odd humbug.

Come one, come all to the Studio on Sunday 20th December for 7:45, and we promise to have you in the Grapevine by nine.  Tickets are £5/£4 concessions, which is a bargain when you calculate the words-per-pence.  There will even be a free mince pie (if we don’t run out), just as long as you promise not to throw them at the readers.


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Workshop 7th October 2014

Hello all. I must begin by apologising for the lack of a Blog this week. Due to circs not entirely beyond my control, there will be no Blog. I advise any of my loyal readership who believe themselves to be reading the PP Blog at this moment to fetch themselves off to their local head doctor and have themselves checked over for hallucinations. The fact is, I am all of a ferment, having just wasted a day attempting to get into Westminster Abbey to visit Poets Corner. I would have made it too, except that my Poetic License lapsed last Thursday and my new one is, according to Mr Alan Bennett, who is running the whole Poetic Verbiage Licensing Administration, ‘in the post’. He tells me that he is far too busy dealing with a huge uptick in slam poets applying for licenses following the Kate Tempest effect. It seems that Hipsters want not only beards and short hair, tweed jackets, Doc Marten’s and a punch in the mouth but also Poetic Licenses, and demand has exceeded supply. Of course I could have spent eighteen sponds like the next gullible tourist but I believe that spending money to enter a House of God is the Thin End of The Wedge and will be followed by the gradual, creeping privatisation of religion.

It’s a shame there is no Blog this week because last night’s Workshop was one of the best. Only three poets turned up (and where were you?) but this gave us plenty of time in the calm and refined atmosphere of Questor’s elegant, MDF-panelled Library to mull over the works on offer. Alan Chambers brought an old piece about a Blue Crane (lifting apparatus, not bird) which will be highly presentable once it’s had a good going over with the grease gun. Owen Gallagher wrote a sharp, authentic piece about the saw mill where once worked in Glasgow, which featured just enough death. Finally Nick Barth brought us a slightly acid poem about the value of Human Resources (the department, not the song by the ice-pixy Bjork), which featured just enough ducks.

Talking of licenses, I read in this week’s copy of ‘The Estate Agent’s Hyperbole’, which I take for the knitting patterns, that Blue Plaques are being dished out this week. Specifically, one is being pinned to the rather nice detached residence in South London where the hard-boiled crime writer Raymond Chandler lived during is education at Dulwich College. It is not widely known, but Chandler was a regular at Pitshanger Poets for a short period before the Great War and his return to America. The young writer was clearly still to find his voice, attracting such comments as ‘Mr Chandler needs more similes like the King needs more brandy’, and ‘Mr Chandler belongs in the world of poetry like a pickled onion belongs in a banana split’. The Pitshanger Poets secretary at the time notes that Chandler was unable to answer when asked whether he had a fountain pen in his pocket or was simply glad to have met her. Of course you have not been reading, but if you imagine you have been, thank you.

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Troubadour Poetry Prize – submissions by 20 Oct

Latest News: New £5,000 first prize for Troubadour Poetry Prize 2014 sponsored by Cegin Productions
Coffee-House Poetry are delighted to announce that long-standing poetry supporters Cegin Productions are now sponsoring a top
prize of £5,000 for the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2014. Second & third prizes have also been increased as have
the 20 additional prizes. (For 2013 winners and details see below, for 2013 and all previous years’ winners and winning poems see our Poems page.)
Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2014
Sponsored by Cegin Productions
judged by amy wack & neil astley with both judges reading all poems prizes: 1st £5,000, 2nd £1,000, 3rd £500
plus 20 prizes of £25 each
plus a spring 2015 coffee-house-poetry season-ticket
plus a prize-winners’ coffee-house poetry reading
with amy wack & neil astley
on mon 1st dec 2014
…for all prize-winning poets
submissions, via e-mail or post, by mon 20th oct 2014

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Ealing Autumn Festival Poetry Competition 2014

George Szirtes, one of the leading living poets writing in English, is to judge a poetry competition on the theme of Constellations as part of the Ealing Autumn Festival 2014. The Festival is inspired by the 450th anniversary of the birth of Galileo, the star-gazer and astronomer. 

George Szirtes is an experienced judge and is himself the recipient of many major awards including the prestigious T S Eliot Prize for Poetry.

The competition is open to anyone with cash prizes totalling £500 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize-winners.  There are two categories including a special category for 18 years and under. The winning poems will be published on the Ealing Autumn Festival website.

Gillian Spragg, Artistic Director of Ealing Autumn Festival said: “we are obviously excited to be able to announce the Festival’s first poetry competition but even more delighted that such an eminent and well-loved poet should have accepted our invitation to judge it.

Constellations is an inspiring theme: looking at the stars always sparks something special in the imagination and we are looking forward to receiving both interesting and outstanding writing.”

George Szirtes will announce the winners and present the prizes on Tuesday 21 October when he will be taking the stage at the Ealing Autumn Festival with an event entitled George Szirtes and a family in artistic collaboration. Competition winners will also be invited to read their poems at this event.

Closing date for entries for the poetry competition is 5pm, Monday 8th September 2014.

Further information:

 020 8567 7623

The Ealing Autumn Festival is organized by West London Arts Scene Limited, a not-for-profit company promoting arts, culture, heritage, science and educational activites.

West London Arts Scene Limited, 76 Milton Road, London W7 1LE.


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By the Pricking of my Thumbs – live poetry at Questors Theatre

Poetry and Theatre are old bedfellows: many early plays were written in verse form and delivered in couplets, and many a poem borrows staging techniques from the playwrite.  So little surprise that Questors Theatre, our genial host, has a history of putting on literary events – from a recent celebration of the friendship between Robert Frost and Edward Thomas, to dramatically staged readings of Alice Oswald, to their annual Christmas Ghost Stories.

Coming up on Monday 4th November, we have their latest festival of verse with By the Pricking of my Thumbs:

As Halloween passes and Mischief Night unfolds, join us in the Studio for an evening of poems bewitching, haunted and occasionally mischievous – a spirit of arcane rituals and unnatural lore, with verses to summon up things that should not be. Featuring poems by Rossetti, Lovecraft, Poe and a phantasmagorical horde of fevered imaginations.
Guaranteed to be truly wicked – or at least well wicked.

Join us in the Studio on Monday 4th November at the new EU-approved witching hour of 7:45 for an evening of spooky yet family-friendly verses and incantations.

Donations on the door (cash only – no body parts).

To quote Stephen King: “Ooh, that’s a bit scary!”

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Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2013

Judged by Deryn Rees-Jones & George Szirtes with both judges reading all poems

prizes: 1st £2,500, 2nd £500, 3rd £250
plus 20 prizes of £20 each
plus a spring 2014 coffee-house-poetry season-ticket
plus a prize-winners’ coffee-house poetry reading
with Deryn Rees-Jones & George Szirtes
on Mon 2nd Dec 2013
…for all prize-winning poets

submissions, via e-mail or post, by mon 21st oct 2013


George Szirtes (b. Budapest) came to England as a refugee aged 8: since his work first appeared in Faber’s Poetry Introductions in 1978, he has published over a dozen poetry collections, plus selected poems, new & collected poems, essays, art criticism, selected prose, libretti, poems for children, & public lectures (in Fortinbras at the Fishhouses, Bloodaxe, 2010); has edited anthologies; & has translated poetry, drama & fiction. His latest collection is The Burning of the Books and Other Poems (Bloodaxe, 2009). Among numerous prizes he has been awarded the Gold Star of the Hungarian Republic, & the TS Eliot Prize for Reel (2005).

Deryn Rees-Jones (b. Liverpool) spent much of her childhood in North Wales & now lectures at Liverpool University. She published her first collection, The Memory Tray, in 1994, followed by Signs Round a Dead Body (1999) & Quiver: A Murder Mystery (2004). Co-founder of LUPAS, a network which aims to bring together scientists & poets for creative collaboration, her critical study Consorting with Angels: Essays on Modern Women Poets was published by Bloodaxe in 2005. Chosen as a PBS Next Generation poet in 2004, she has won an Eric Gregory Award & her latest collection,Burying the Wren (Seren) was shortlisted for the 2012 T.S. Eliot Prize.

Both judges will read all poems submitted.


General: Entry implies acceptance of all rules; failure to comply with all rules results in disqualification; submissions accepted by post or e-mail from poets of any nationality, from any country, aged over 18 years; no poet may win more than one prize; judges’ decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into.

Poems: Poems must be in English, must each be no longer than 45 lines, must fit on one side of one A4 or US-Letter-size page, must show title & poem only, must not show poet’s name or any other identifying marks on submitted poems (whether submitted by post or as e-mail attachment), must be the original work of the entrant (no translations) and must not have been previously broadcast or published (in print or online); prize-winning poems may be published (in print or online) by Troubadour International Poetry Prize, and may not be published elsewhere for one year after Monday 21st October 2013 without permission; no limit on number of poems submitted; no alterations accepted after submission.

Fees: All entries must be accompanied by submission fees of £5/€6/$8 per poem (Sterling/Euro/US-Dollars only); entries only included when payment received via—

PayPal: (visit PayPal account not required, no additional details required, please note your PayPal Receipt No.)
Cheque/Money-Order: payable to Coffee-House Poetry
NB: include PayPal name or cheque signatory name in e-mail or postal submission details, only if different

By Post: No entry form required; two copies required of each poem submitted; please include the following details on a separate page —
Poet’s Name & Address, Phone No, E-Mail Address (if available), List of Titles, No. of Poems, Total Fees, & EITHERPayPal Receipt No. OR cheque/money-order/postal-payment enclosed; no staples; no Special Delivery, Recorded Delivery or Registered Post; entries are not returned.

By E-mail: No entry form required; poems must be e-mailed to as attachments (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf only); please include the following details in your e-mail message —
Poet’s Name & Address, Phone No, List of Titles, No. of Poems, Total Fees, and EITHER PayPal Receipt No. OR cheque/money-order/postal-payment to arrive by post within 7 days; no Special Delivery, Recorded Delivery or Registered Post.

Deadline: All postal entries, and any cheque/money-order/postal-payments for e-mail entries, to arrive at Troubadour International Poetry Prize, Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON W4 1ZP postmarked on or before Mon 21st Oct 2013. Prize-winners only will be contacted individually by Mon 25th Nov 2013. Prize-giving will take place on Mon 2nd Dec 2013 at Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour in Earls Court, London.

Acknowledgement/Results: E-mail entries acknowledged within 14 days of receipt of both entry & payment; postal entrants may include stamped, addressed postcard or envelope marked ‘Acknowledgement’ &/or stamped, addressed envelope marked ‘Results’ if required; results will be sent to all e-mail entrants (& posted on website & mailed to all postal entrants who included a ‘Results’ envelope) after announcement of results on Mon 2nd Dec 2013; no correspondence will be entered into.

Anne-Marie Fyfe (Organiser), coffee-house poetry at the troubadour

life, literature and the pursuit of happiness, in the famous Troubadour cellar-club: London’s liveliest & best-loved poetry venue…
readings, mondays 8-10 pm, tickets £8 concessions £7, season tickets 20% off, classes, sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28 (concs. £24), advance booking only, cheques payable to Coffee-House Poetry, no credit cards
at 263-267 Old Brompton Road LONDON SW5, (no mail to this address, see correspondence address below), nr. junct. Earls Court & Old Brompton Rds, nearest Tube: Earls Court (District & Piccadilly Lines), for info, booking, season ticket & mailing list enquiries,, or write to Anne-Marie Fyfe, Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP

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Chiswick Book Festival, 12- 15 September.

Just a reminder that the Chiswick Book Festival is on 12- 15 September 2013 (next weekend). It takes place just outside Turnham Green Station and includes talks by an amazing collection of writers including Rula Lenska, Sir Max Hastings, Charles Cumming, Lucy Worsley, James Bowen (and his street cat Bob), Philip Kerr, Jane Thynne, Simon Hughes, Lesley Pearse, Lord Hannay of Chiswick, Lindsey Davis, Laurie Graham. Chek out the website:

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