The Poetry Café hosts a lively programme of art exhibitions inspired by poetry and literature. A number of our exhibitions have toured to other venues, resulted in publications or have been shortlisted for the prestigious Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. We collaborate regularly with up-and-coming artists, including students from the Illustration and Graphic Design departments of Middlesex University.

Slow show exhibition

Current exhibition: Slow Show

First slow dance in letterpress. Inspired by popular songs

9 June – now extended to 20 October 2017

The inaugural exhibition in the newly refurbished Poetry Café is Slow Show. First slow dance in letterpress. Inspired by popular songs by students in the Graphic Design department at Middlesex University.

Second-year Graphic Design students have taken memorable lines from popular songs and transformed them into exciting images, using the centuries-old relief printmaking technique of letterpress. The exhibition presents original one-off prints – ear worms metamorphosed into visual splendour!

A celebratory opening event was held in The Poetry Café on Friday 9 June.

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Forthcoming exhibition

“YAPPO,” SAID THE MAN – Iro Tsavala & Henry Martin

23 October – 1 December 2017

Crows' flight by Iro Tsavala, from Yappo.
Crows’ flight by Iro Tsavala, from Yappo.

The book YAPPO, the first collaboration between the award-winning artists Iro Tsavala and Henry Martin, tells the story of a nameless, mostly silent man, who protects a small plant as he walks through the wilderness. During his travels, the man meets a milliner, a butcher, a dog, and a mermaid, each of whom requests a leaf from his plant. The man refuses to comply, muttering “Yappo.” How will his journey end?

The latest Poetry Café exhibition, “YAPPO,” SAID THE MAN, presents Iro Tsavala’s earthy, timeless illustrations inspired by the Scottish Highlands, alongside new prints and objects.

About the artists

Iro Tsavala graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2008 and lectures in illustration at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham. She works in the field of ‘authorial illustration’, exploring new genres in illustrated books that are not strictly covered by picture books or graphic novels. Her work has been exhibited at Somerset House, London; the Women’s Library, London; Ethnographic Museum, Kraków; and the Boston Children’s Museum, USA. She has produced illustrations for The Poetry Society; The Guardian; the publisher Laurence King and others. irotsavala.com

Henry Martin’s books include YAPPO (Company Cod, 2017) and the biography Agnes Martin: Pioneer, Painter, Icon (Schaffner Press, 2018). His poetry has appeared in Stylus, Criterion, Limited Edition, Jam magazine and elsewhere. His plays have been shown at Theatre 503, Arcola Theatre, Roundhouse, Latitude, Fishamble and Belltable Theatre. He has been nominated for various awards and is recipient of the Jerome Hynes Award. henry-martin.co.uk

YAPPO is published by Company Cod with support from University for the Creative Arts and Tipperary Artists Award 2017 in a signed and numbered limited edition of 300 copies, ISBN 9781999725006, price £15.