Troubador Poetry Prize – 1 week to go


With just one week to closing date, I’m sending details of our annual Troubadour Poetry Prize to poets/teachers/workshop leaders & members/publishers/magazine editors etc, and hope you might forward – full details below – to anyone you know who might be interested in entering.

Every submission helps support our fortnightly reading series at The Troubadour in London which has now been running for 18 years (& which receives no public funding). We rely increasingly on our annual prize & we offer a terrific 1st prize of £5000 (plus another £2000 plus in smaller prizes).

There’ll be a great celebratory event at the Troubadour on 30th November with all winners invited to read their winning poems, alongside readings from this year’s judges, Jean Sprackland & John McAuliffe.

We’d be really grateful for any help in spreading the word…

Many thanks!

Best wishes, Anne-Marie

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 landmark since the ‘fifties…

£5,000 Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2015

Sponsored by Cegin Productions

judged by jean sprackland & john mcauliffe with both judges reading all poems

prizes: 1st £5,000, 2nd £1,000, 3rd £500
plus 20 prizes of £25 each
plus a spring 2016 coffee-house-poetry season-ticket
plus a prize-winners’ coffee-house poetry reading
with jean sprackland & john mcauliffe
on mon 30th nov 2015
for all prize-winning poets

submissions, via e-mail or post, by mon 19th oct 2015


John McAuliffe (b. Listowel, Co. Kerry, 1973) has published four books with The Gallery Press: A Better Life (2002), Next Door (2007), Of All Places (PBS Recommendation, 2011) and The Way In (2015). He lives in Manchester where he teaches at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and writes a monthly poetry column for the Irish Times.

Jean Sprackland (b. 1962) is author of four collections of poetry, Tattoos for Mothers Day (Spike, 1997), Hard Water (Cape, 2003), Tilt (Cape, 2007) & Sleeping Keys (Random House, 2013), & Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach (Cape, 2012), a book of essays about landscape and nature. Originally from Burton upon Trent, she studied English & Philosophy at the University of Kent & is a Trustee of the Poetry Archive.

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 from individuals 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) & 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, & may not be published elsewhere for one year after Monday 19th Oct 2015 without permission; no limit on number of poems submitted; no limit on number of separate submissions any individual may make; poems may be submitted by post or e-mail (see submission details below) but poems already submitted by e-mail should not then also be submitted by post; no text 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 EITHER

  • PayPal: see PayPal (see ‘prizes‘ page on, PayPal account not required, no additional details required, please note your PayPal Receipt No.) OR
  • 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 from Poet’s Name.

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, & EITHER PayPal Receipt No. OR cheque/money-order/postal-payment enclosed; no paper-clips or 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, & EITHER PayPal Receipt No. OR send cheque/money-order/postal-payment by post, no paper-clips or staples, no Special Delivery, Recorded Delivery or Registered Post. (Do not submit via website contact page; do not submit by e-mail to; submit by e-mail to ONLY.)

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 19th Oct 2015. Prize-winners only will be contacted individually by Mon 23rd Nov 2015. Prize-giving will take place on Mon 30th Nov 2015 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; results will be posted on website (& mailed to all postal entrants who included a Results envelope) after announcement on Mon 30th Nov 2015; 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 £7, season tickets 20% off, classes, sundays 12-3.30 pm, £28, at 263-267 Old Brompton Rd LONDON SW5, (no mail to this address, see correspondence PO Box address below), nr. junct. Earls Court & Old Brompton Rds, nearest Tube: Earls Court (District & Piccadilly Lines), to advance-book readings, season tickets or classes (classes are advance-booking only), pay via PayPal on website or send cheque payable to Coffee-House Poetry to PO Box below, for info, season ticket & mailing list, or write to Anne-Marie Fyfe, Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP

Remembering Sarah Sunflower Lundberg

I just came across this blog. Its excellent.

The inimitable Sarah Lundberg The inimitable Sarah Lundberg

I first met Sarah Lundberg in Bowes Pub in Fleet Street in Dublin where her ‘Seven Towers’ company had been in Open Mic session for some weeks. There would be many changes of venue  in subsequent years but her monthly ‘Last Wednesday’ would always be a fixture, presided over by Sarah and skillfully MC’d by Declan McLoughlin. It was here that many younger, and not a few of us older, poets and writers got a chance to float some new pieces and see how they sounded. And everyone was assured of a fair hearing. No heckling (although occasional shouts of praise were permitted!) and no going on and on and on, taking up more that the 7-10 minutes, a practice that afflicts so many of our city’s open mics. There was law and order and plenty of socialising, an aspect of the open mic that was never neglected by Sarah. She well understood that a writer’s…

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Meet Ebenezer Scrooge 2014: sacking people is “great fun”

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today)

Over a hundred and seventy years after Dickens published a Christmas Carol, meet Ebenezer Scrooge 2014:

moulton the new scrooge

You can read all about how Moulton sacked his staff and couldn’t even be bothered to tell them here:

UKIP supporter and fat city cat Jon Moulton sacks 2,727 of his staff on Xmas Day

But Moulton is not just a fabulously wealthy fat city cat who doesn’t give a sh*t about British workers. He’s a prominent UKIP supporter too. And a good example of just how nasty some of the people behind UKIP are.

Here are some quotes:

Moulton on making people redundant: “You can never fire anyone too soon

Moulton’s description of the people he has fired: “cutting away unnecessaries

Moulton on why there should be even more austerity: “It’s the moral thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.

Moulton on why…

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Fucking Chickentown

The story begins with the collapse of the banking system in Ireland in 2008 due largely to corruption and over investment and lack of fiscal restraint of the building market. Instead of allowing the commercial Banking system, to collapse, the Irish Government sought monies from the European Central Bank to stabilize the economy. To date the debt is 180 billion, whereas 130 billion has been borrowed. The debt is over a hundred per cent of gross domestic product with Ireland’s overall debt exposure of around 800 billion. The debt is also over one hundred and twenty per cent of gross national product. Gross national product is estimated at around three per cent, which is good, but the debt ratio is crippling. This is a debt which will continue for generations. We are mired in debt and economically, and as a consequence, politically dependent on our creditors.

Previous Governments, seen as corrupt and hopelessly in thrall to establishment bankers, a new centre right coalition were voted in on a bill of reform and proceeded to great fanfare to straighten out the appalling state of the nations finances. Social spending was cut by two billion, taxes increased by one and a half billion, as well as emptying the nations coffers. This had the consequence of decreasing our potential for expenditure – our money for daily spending dropped. people began re-negotiating loans, cancelling credit cards, going on fewer holidays consolidating debts, not buying new cars, houses, electrical items. Unemployment increased, businesses closed, and as credit became increasingly difficult to acquire, new businesses starting up became fewer and further between.

That is, its not all bad. As credit is expensive, as inflation is moderately high, as there still remains a good economic growth of over three per cent, a weak economy in other words with a highly skilled economy with a ‘first world’ education mostly out of work, the stage is set for the arrival of huge multinational corporations on tax breaks – service industries, shopping malls, chemical suppliers, research and development technologies allying themselves to cash strapped universities, technology hubs – all with little or no union representation, low wages, short contracts, with little or no permanent relationship with the surrounding communities they arrive in. Larger corporations are more immune to the highs and lows of local economies. They can control local pricing, dictate terms, and move out quickly if they dont get the terms they want. Thus some jobs replace the ones lost.

At the same time taxation rises for the individual and the homeowner. Water tax, property tax, wage cuts, reduction or removal of medical and social benefits, – all these serve to further population’s state of dependency – economic or otherwise. A rapidly shrinking job market and a social benefit system that has become both parsimonious in its benefits and labyrinthine in its complexity. Its extraordinarily easy to pay a parking fine or the deeply immoral television licence. Its almost Kafkaesque to try to apply for a medical card or unemployment benefit.

The Senate is moved to be abolished. The minister for justice controls the army and the police. Gangland violence is on the rise. Law and order is constantly discussed in the media. More police are hired and trained and put on the street, despite the economy being in deep trouble. There is a marked increase in stop and search procedures.  Fines are imposed for the most trivial transgressions.

The number of murders increases, as does the abuse of alcohol and drugs. The family is under considerable strain. Emigration increases. Things are, well, bad. There seems to be an absence of hope and order, an order the government seeks to re impose with an increasingly, dare I say it, fascistic stance. And all this because we bailed out the commercial banks. Welcome to fucking chicken town.

John Cooper Clarke’s brilliant performance piece “Evidently Chicken Town”