Timothy Adès : Translator–Poet

Timothy Adès : Events

Forthcoming Events

Book Sales

Timothy Ades and his bookstall

Timothy’s bookstall of translated poetry will be at Lauderdale House (Highgate Hill) on various dates to be announced. This is a unique bookstall for poetry in translation. Timothy has a good knowledge of the best translators and publishers. Most of the books have English and foreign texts on facing pages. Prices are keen. You’d never see a display like this in a bookshop!

Recent Events — 2015

  • 3 Nov: Waterstones, Piccadilly, London, 7pm: hosting Poet in the City Drop–In.
  • 20 Oct: Blackwell’s, Broad Street, Oxford, 4pm: Victor Hugo poems.
  • 4 Oct: guest poet with Maggie Butt at the Torriano, 99 Torriano Avenue, London NW5.
  • 30 May: presented ‘Storysongs/Chantefables’ with Cat Zaza and Sonia Masson at Chantelivre, 13 rue de Sèvres, Paris 6.
  • 21 April: read with Patricia McCarthy and Stuart Medland at Agenda Editions at Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place, London WC1. All proceeds went to shelter the homeless.
  • 25 March: Stanza Bonanza at the Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street.
  • 20 January: read from ‘Florentino and the Devil’ at Swedenborg Hall in London, with Shearsman poets Sandeep Parmar and Peter Robinson.


Timothy and the talented artist Cat Zaza were at Hatchards in St Pancras Station, at Owl Bookshop, 207 Kentish Town Road, London NW5, and at Claire de Rouen Bookshop, 125 Charing Cross Road. They signed, adorned and recited from their new book, Storysongs/Chantefables, animal whimsies by Robert Desnos.

Timothy Ades and Cat Zaza

Events — 2013 and 2014

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

Timothy read with Long Poem Magazine on Thursday 27 November at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, his poem of 100 lines and one vowel, ‘The Excellent Wessex Event (When She Wedded Me)’. An Apparatus Criticus appears with it in the Magazine, no. 11: please see under Lipograms. Also: Robert Desnos ‘Ode to Coco’.

Working Men’s College

On Sunday 2 November Timothy read with Nick Murray and others at the Working Men’s College, London NW1.

Waterstone’s, Piccadilly

On Tuesday 7 October, Timothy again hosted Poet in the City’s ‘Drop–In’ at Waterstones, Piccadilly, London. The theme was Writing Materials.

Lumen, Tavistock Place

On Tuesday 17 June, Timothy was guest poet with Lorraine Mariner at Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place WC1. Several floor poets contributed to this very happy evening. The series run by Ruth O’Callaghan aids the homeless who take shelter in this remarkable church.


On Saturday 10 May 2014, Timothy read with Elaine Feinstein at Poetry–next–the–Sea at Wells, Norfolk. Each had a total of 40 minutes. Timothy responded to the festival’s Great War theme and read poems from his books (3 out already, 3 to follow) and then a mixed assortment. His bookstall of translated poetry was open throughout the festival.

Verdict of the Director, Fiona Fraser: “You were such a resounding success!”

Also reading: Andrew Motion, Rowan Williams, Gillian Beer, M R (Meg) Peacocke, Fiona Sampson, Emily Berry, David Harsent, Hugh Cecil.

Poetry and Opera

On 13 March 2014, on Radio Resonance, ‘The Opera Hour’ covered the current issue of Agenda magazine, ‘Poetry and Opera’. Richard Scott was with editor Patricia McCarthy and contributors Eva Salzman, Sorana Santos and Timothy Adès. Please go to https://soundcloud.com/resonance-fm/sets/the-opera-hour and find 13 March 2014. Timothy is on after 15 minutes.

Rhyme and Rhythm

Rhythm and Rhyme poster

On Friday 28 February, Angela Kirby and Timothy were the guest poets at Sarah Doyle’s new ‘Rhyme and Rhythm Jazz–Poetry Club’ at the Dugdale Centre, Enfield. Poetry backed by top London jazz band Special Edition.

Lauderdale House

On Wednesday 26 February, Timothy read at Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, London, with the poets Billy Doyle, Paul Birtill, Annwen Evans and Mike Loveday.

Tasting of Bordeaux Wines

On 22 October, at a tasting of Bordeaux wines organised by Poet in the City at Clyde & Co, Timothy’s versions of French wine poems were brilliantly read by TV actor Philip Fox.

London Lit Weekend

On 5 October at the London Lit Weekend at Kings Place, Timothy joined Elaine Feinstein and Martyn Crucefix to present: Great Poets in Translation: Tsvetaeva, Rilke, Hugo. Elaine Feinstein is a writer in the front rank, a distinguished novelist, biographer and poet. Martyn Crucefix has won several awards for poetry. This was a repeat of a successful event in May at Waterstone’s, Hampstead — now in a bigger venue.

British Library: International Translation Day

Monday 30 September was International Translation Day. At the British Library, London, Timothy was on the Panel for ‘When is a Translation not a Translation?’ Also on the panel: Angheliki Petrits (European Commission), Isabel del Rio (International Maritime Organisation). Chair: Amanda Hopkinson.

Waterstones, Piccadilly

On Tuesday 6 August at Waterstones, 203–206 Piccadilly, London, Timothy was host at ‘Drop–In’ (Poet in the City). Theme: HARVEST.

Rodin in Hertfordshire

On 29 June Timothy organised a gathering of forty people in rural Hertfordshire. Readings from Patricia McCarthy’s great poetry book Rodin’s Shadow, led by Patricia herself, were followed by a visit to the Rodin/Moore exhibition at the Henry Moore Foundation.

Keats House, London

On 26 May, the Keats Festival at Keats House, Keats Grove, London NW3 hosted the Flamingofeather poetry competition: Timothy read his prize poem. The other prizewinners were: Kate Ling, Diana Gittins, John Gohorry, Christopher North, Claudia Daventry (best reading!), Jonathan Edwards, Nick Mahoka, Karen Green. Flamingofeather is a London–based multi–media arts company covering physical theatre, dance and literature. Timothy’s poem of 100 lines and one vowel is published in Long Poem magazine no.12, 2014.

Camden Town

On Friday 3 May at Buck Street in Camden Town, corner of Kentish Town Road, London, Timothy was called on at short notice to read for Agenda Poetry Magazine.

Canary Wharf, London

On 19 March, Timothy’s translations of French wine poems were read by Geoffrey Streatfield and Rosalie Jorda, at a tasting of French wines held by the Wine Society. Jazz was played and Elizabeth Hannaford’s wine–inspired paintings were on the walls. A raffle supported the organisers, Poet in the City. The event took place at the offices of Clifford Chance in Canary Wharf, London E14: great views from the 30th floor.

Black’s Club, London

Timothy read from How to be a Grandfather at Black’s Club in Soho on 16 February, as part of Victor Hugo: Poetry and Song.

The event was presented by Poet in the City and The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation, and featured poems by Hugo set to music by great composers and performed by Ciara Hendrick (mezzo soprano) and Sholto Kynoch (piano). Harry Guest read from The Distance, the Shadows. A packed house enjoyed the fine music and poetry.

Launch of How to be a Grandfather

Timothy presented How to be a Grandfather at:

  • The Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution on 15 March.
  • Torriano Meeting House on 20 January, as part of a happy and successful occasion with Martina Thomson, whose Panther and Gazelle, translations of Paula Ludwig’s poems, was also being issued by Hearing Eye.
  • The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London, on 30 January. Here is a review of the event:

On Wednesday 30 January Timothy Adès gave a fascinating account of the life and work of Victor Hugo in general and of his poems in particular.

Timothy in full flow

The evening was very well attended but people are always shy to occupy the first two rows. Though one lady who was the first to arrive, boldly occupied a front row seat, and grabbed the opportunity to have a pre–event chat with Timothy.

It was a very lively evening and we even listened to a recording of a Victor Hugo poem set to music, and we were invited to some audience participation:

I don’t know where and I don’t know when,
Old Yannick was blowing his chanter and drone.

the rapt audience

Other poems ranged from grandfatherly interference in ‘The Pot of Jam’, lovely observations of a child in ‘Jean Asleep — II’:

She sleeps: those eyes will shine when day has dawned.
Clutched in the dark, my finger fills her hand:

to grandpa’s childhood frolics neatly illustrated by the poem ‘Pepita’:

With hairnet and mantilla, so
That rhyme took time to fit her,

After the reading Timothy was kept busy with requests from the audience to sign their newly acquired copy of How to be a Grandfather.

(Report by Bernadette Jansen op de Haar, of Holland Park Press.)

Long Poem Magazine at the Poetry Library

Timothy was at Long Poem Magazine’s showcase event on Wednesday 9 January 2013 at the Poetry Library, above the Royal Festival Hall, London, as part of their Special Edition Series. He read his version of ‘Romances of Rio de Janeiro’ by the great Mexican writer, Alfonso Reyes, which is published in LPM no: 8.

Earlier Events

Agenda Poetry Festival

Timothy shared a Poetry Translators event at the Agenda Poetry Festival with Josephine Balmer and Susan Wicks on Saturday 13 October 2012 at The Old Palace, Mayfield, East Sussex. These historic and beautiful buildings are now part of the St Leonard’s–Mayfield Girls’ School. Timothy read poems and ran his bookstall, devoting the proceeds to Agenda magazine, with great support from the audience.

From: Lake District Herald, Friday, 2 March 2012

Poetry translations celebration attracts audience of all ages

Timothy Ades and Keswick School pupils

Keswick year 12 students with (front, left to right) Timothy Adès, Chris Pilling and Alistair Elliott and (left, standing) Simone Holmes, May McEntee and French teacher Karen Green.

An event in Keswick which celebrated poetry translation proved a big success as it attracted a near capacity audience on Wednesday.

The idea was the brainchild of local poet and translator Chris Pilling who invited three other acclaimed poets, two women who live in the area who speak French, and pupils from Keswick School.

“A Celebration of Poetry Translations” brought together the translation talents of poets Timothy Adès, from London, Alistair Elliot, from Newcastle, and Peter Rafferty, from Carlisle, along with Chris.

The poets’ contributions were complemented by readings of poems in the original language given by French speakers May McEntee and Simone Holmes. The large audience also heard pieces by Irene d’Antonio, Alana Goddard, Marten Hinz, Tom Marshall, Eleanor Price and Josh Williams, who are are studying French at Keswick School.

The event was free but there was a collection box for research into Parkinson’s disease.

Long Poem Magazine

Timothy read with Patricia McCarthy (editor of Agenda poetry magazine), Will Stone and David Cooke, on Sunday 18 November at the Castle Inn, Castle Street, Cambridge, CB3 0AJ.

Lucy Hamilton and Jane Monson presented their books of prose poems with rhyming translator–poet, Timothy Adès, on Sunday 10 June 2012 at the Castle Inn, Cambridge.

Timothy read at the University of East Anglia on Tuesday 24 April 2012, accompanied by Moniza Alvi, Donald Gardner and Martin Sorrell.

Timothy read with Agenda Poets at Lauderdale House, London N6, on Thursday 9 February at 8pm.

On Thursday 3 November, Timothy gave a seminar, open to all, at the Maison Française in Oxford, 2 Norham Road at 5pm: Rhyming Translator–Poet: Translating the Poetry of Desnos, Cassou and Hugo.

His solo presentation ‘Rhyming Translator–Poet’ at, and for, the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution in June 2011 raised hundreds of pounds in admissions and sales of books and magazines.

Timothy has read solo at the Suffolk Poetry Society, the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society, at Mayfield for Agenda, and around London, and has participated in readings at the Universities of East Anglia and Newcastle.

He has appeared three times at the Institut Français, and organised a translator panel at the Torbay Festival, 2009.

At the launch of Long Poem Magazine no.5, at the Barbican Library, London, on Monday 24 January 2011, Timothy read his rhymed version of The Ode to Coco by Robert Desnos, written at the age of 19. He read his version of John Keats by Angelos Sikelianós at the launch of LPM no. 3.

Mayor of Enfield’s Burns Night

Jayne Buckland, Mayor of Enfield

The Mayor of Enfield, Cllr Jayne Buckland (Lab), is a good friend of poetry. She has founded a Mayor’s Prize. She hosted a Burns Night at Capel Manor, Enfield and called for poets to contribute.

Timothy Adès recited in French and English the very short poem Farewell by Apollinaire (see the Poetry Translations page) and sang some of Burns’s quite similar poem, Ae Fond Kiss.

The Excitement of Rhyme and Metre

Timothy appeared at ‘The Excitement of Rhyme and Metre’ in the Uni–Verse international poetry series at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution on Wednesday 13 October, 2010. You may download a poster of the event (PDF, 473kb).

Here are some appreciations of Timothy’s appearances at and en route to Bath:

From Crysse Morrison’s blog

Timothy Ades at a desk Timothy Ades and an accordion player

13 October 2010

“French night at Macfadyen’s in Frome on Tuesday was a strange and lovely event, part soirée, part living-room theatre, as Timothy Adès joined hostess Annabelle in offering poésie Française et chansons avec l’accordéon to a small group of fascinated friends. Timothy was en route to BRLSI in Bath, where next day he presented a talk and readings on The Excitement of Rhyme and Metre to the uni–verse group. Timothy translates from several languages, publishing principally his re–interpretations of French and Spanish works, and prides himself that he is a poet in his own right, one who finds metre and rhyme in English to suit the mood and often the form of the original. He specialises too in word–play, lipograms and ingenious rhyming — tenebrous with zebras — as well as sensual love sonnets and the poetry of Resistance in the Second World War. Perhaps because it reminds me of Kavafis’s Ithaca, one of my favourites was The Voyage by the beach–comber poet Lámbros Porphýras.”

On The Excitement of Rhyme and Metre

at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, October 2010

Report by Duncan McGibbon, BRLSI member

On Wednesday 13 October the UNI–VERSE programme welcomed Timothy Adès, who read his finely–wrought translations from the French of Louise Labé, Théophile Gautier, Victor Hugo and a particularly spirited interpretation of the Renaissance poet, Du Bellay’s Sonnets on Rome. The remainder of his programme before the break was devoted to two Twentieth Century French poets: Robert Desnos (pronounced Des Noss) and Jean Cassou. While the latter is virtually unknown in this country, Desnos is well–known as a Surrealist and exponent of automatic writing. Timothy Adès revealed a much more thoughtful and lyrical side to Desnos whose poems almost anticipated his death in the Theresienstadt extermination camp. Jean Cassou was imprisoned in Toulouse as a suspected resistant. His metre is traditional — 33 sonnets composed in his head — but his expression is modern. His life experience makes a gripping story.

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