Poetry at Sappho Books and Cafe

Posted on 13 March 2009 by


I love the candles at Poetry Night at Sappho. They provide a warm glow, or an evening of waxy pyromania, depending on your inclination. If you’re biased to the pyro side you do need to be careful though. It’s all too easy to burn yourself. Alloronan had problems when her candle reached critical point and overflowed all over the table and onto her hand. Poor thing. At the end when everyone helps to carry their dishes up to the kitchen we were warned not to touch the candles in case we burnt ourselves. The moral of the story – don’t touch the candles.


Of course the main attractions at Sappho are books and coffee during the day, so you probably don’t normally play with candles. The candles come out for the poetry evening each month. The poetry reading and open mic poetry is run by Poetry Unlimited Press. Sappho Books and Cafe in Glebe kindly keeps their doors open for the event. The evening is run by the enviably energetic Roberta. She is all smiles and full of praise for the poets. Her warm personality really sets the mood for the evening.

This month’s guest poet was Martin Langford. His poetry was both prettily worded and comprehensible, which is a combination I like. One of his ideas that struck a chord for me was about how every moment passes quickly. We cannot hold onto them. He said that the song of the currawong feels to him like a sad goodbye and he reminded us that we’re saying goodbye to the present all the time. At yoga, Pink often tells us to have “conscious presence”. This poem reminded me of that focused look at the world.

The open mic section was a good one this month. We had around 20 poems that ran for two minutes. I think it works best when people read a single poem rather than trying to squeeze two into the timeframe. It leaves a stronger impression. Again I’m left with fleeting images, of farm machinery, red brick, sex, colours… I think the only comic poem of the night was Alloronan’s piece on chicken suits. I found it a little spooky, but it was funny.

While the poetry was sustaining our minds we looked to the Sappho Cafe to sustain our stomachs. At these evenings they have hot drinks, cakes and toasted sandwiches available. They have little gluten free polenta cakes from Manna from Heaven and the brownies are gluten free too.


Alloronan decided on a cake with a rather spectacular curl of icing on top. Apparently it was quite buttery. It wasn’t strawberry, but she wasn’t sure of the fruit. She said, “Do you know what a pomegranite tastes like?” and I said, “No, they’re always $3 each and I’m not that curious.” I couldn’t taste it since it wasn’t gf, so I’ll have to leave you with the mystery.


I went for the white chocolate brownie with macadamias. It was very rich. I liked the bits of sour fruit inside, they provided some balance.


On the whole the cakes were nothing to write home about, but the chai tea was amazing. It’s made by the Byron Bay Tea company and came in a pot holding two cups worth. It was milky and not too sweet with a lovely taste of cinnamon and cloves. I love fragrant chai and this was a good one made of real tea leaves and spices. Sappho is serious about their tea and coffee. Their teas come from T2 or the Byron Bay Tea company. The coffee is Toby’s estate.

I think to really sample the food at Sappho you should visit during normal hours (or see NQN’s review). The cakes aren’t special but the tea is beautiful. The combination of a bookshop and a cafe makes for a lovely atmosphere. The courtyard has a relaxed combination of graffiti, plants and candles. It’s a nice place to enjoy poetry.

Sappho Books and Cafe
51 Glebe Point Rd

The Poetry nights are on the second Wednesday of each month, 7-9pm.

Ratings (out of 5 snorts)

Price 3 snorts
Taste 4 snorts
Service 2 snorts
Atmosphere 4 snorts