Café Poetry: ‘and then came the rain’

With the age of literary correspondence dying, it seems more important than ever to provide spaces of warmth and comfort in which writers can not only retreat, but meet, share, critique and discuss their writing, face to face, without the insipidly pale protection of a computer screen.


Helen Calcutt


Creativity of any kind is a deeply personal and private process. Poems go for months, perhaps years unheard and unread by family members, friends, partners – even editors and publishers.  This is inevitable. Writers are generally small, dithering little things without a shred of unnerved confidence between them. All the more reason to free oneself from the narrow (and often dimly lit) restraints of the writing desk, and confront the world – manuscript in hand.

As daunting a task as this might seem, it is a necessary one. One’s writing could be magnificent. But this magnificence can never be heard if it remains in a desk drawer.  Readings too can be terrifying. Showing your work to a partner – threefold. A gentler introduction to revealing the fruits of one’s private labours are writing workshops; and what better way to house these often nervous and tricky introductions, than in the relaxed and impartial setting of a ‘café’.

The new Writers’ Workshop Programme owes its success to both the popularity of its host, Helen Calcutt, and the venue, The Dance Workshop Café, situated in Moseley Village.

Dance Workshop - Moseley

Launched in ‘the month of rain’ the Writers’ Workshop Programme provides writers working at any level, and in any literary genre, the time and space to further their creativity. Under the guidance of a professional poet, and surrounded by the home comforts of a well-loved and frequented arts venue, writers meet monthly to write, relax, drink tea, and write some more:

“Gathering raw material is vital, for any writer” says Helen, “it’s the starting point, and helps further creative development.

Most, if not all the time on this programme is spent writing or talking about writing. Our agenda is the improvement of the quality of the work itself, with a focus on process, not the final product.

Each workshop we host is designed to provide writers with the space to generate new ideas, either attributing to current works, or starting new pieces.”

And what better ‘space’ to provide than a bright and welcoming workshop café – when studies can be so indecorous, and living rooms greyly familiar. With a wealth of history, and an on-going love and support for the arts (including genres of dance, music, drama and now literature) The Dance Workshop seems the perfect spot to bring fresh, creative ideas to the table – teacup in hand.

The next Writers’ Workshop will take place on April 24th 2013, at The Dance Workshop café in Moseley Village.

The Dance Workshop is a vibrant studio and café, providing dance classes for adults and children, music production, and rehearsal space. It also offers teas, coffees, cakes and refreshments on a daily basis.

To book your place on the Writers’ Workshop Programme please contact 0121 442 2286, or [email protected]

For further details on The Dance Workshop, visit their website: