Overture: An Evening with Troy Cabida

It’s summer of 2013. I’m walking from Hyde Park Corner to Oxford Circus because the 74 terminated early and I can only afford one more bus ride. I’m fresh out of sixth form, no plans to go to uni. I’m unemployed and at my Rachel Greene Season 1 phase and worst of all, I’m unpublished. Nazmia Jamal’s unrelenting voice rings in my head “You don’t have to be published to be a poet!” but the even more unrelenting voice in my head wins every time.

It was at this point when I decided that I’m going to use this time to grow and develop myself as not only a person, but as a worker, a friend, a son and an artist.

Fast forward to five years later, of three years in Sainsbury’s, two months in AllSaints, intermittent months as editor, columnist and featured poet in online journals and zines and two years sharpening my craft as a Barbican Young Poet under the tutelage of Jacob Sam-La Rose, all the while working in the library and gigging and producing poetry nights around London later, I find myself writing this article slash invitation post for a poetry night that I would have never thought to have co-produced, let alone feature in.

Overture: An Evening with Troy Cabida is a poetry night produced by me and the sensational poet, creative producer and visual artist Ruth Sutoyé. It is a show that functions in service to fully introduce myself to the world as a poet, performer and a person through poems and stories about love, friendship, bubble tea, that thing called masculinity and staying sober in London.

It’ll be held at The DIY Space on Saturday, the 11th of August 2018 from 7pm! Featuring acts on the night include Amina JamaNeimo AskarMalakaï Sargeant, Ruth Sutoyé and the musical prowess of Gabriel Jones aka Bump Kin.

Special shout outs to Malika Holder for designing the poster and to Ruth who is also my photographer for this entire project as well as co-producer, artistic director, host, therapist and all-around super friend.

Tickets are available by either clicking the poster above or down on the link below:


Early bird: £6

Standard online: £10

Door price: £12

We look forward to seeing you there!






On The Barbican Young Poets 2017

“What was one thing you’ve taken away from being a part of the Barbican Young Poets this year?”

To answer that question would be for me to catch you up on the past six to seven months of my life, starting from that sunny Sunday afternoon sandwiched between four other friends in a car parked somewhere in Chelmsford and I had just refreshed my mail app to Lorna McGinty’s message with the title Barbican Young Poets.

Many has come to call Frobisher Rooms 4 and 5 a home, a place where people can be themselves. And the weird thing is, when we come into such a space like that we flourish. I’ve never felt growth the way I felt it when I was in the middle of a writing prompt, getting multiple epiphanies at the same time while trying to dissect a poem or finding new ways to write something in the middle of writing something else.

I’ve asked some of my “classmates” from this year’s group the same question and here are their responses:

To Lauren, Lorna, Rachel and Jacob. 

Bobby Sun – The biggest thing I’ve taken away from BYP is that I’m not alone. I know it sounds cliché, but the sense of community and collaboration, and the easy bonds between the poets, gave me a sense of confidence in my work that I never had before. I hope to collaborate with BYP members in the future, and I look forward to seeing y’all do big things too.

Omar Bynon – Process. I finally worked out my recipe for writing and it feels amazing. Gonna cook up some tasty meals now.

Remi Graves – Beyond the joy I found in realising that you can form community through the word – I think BYP taught me the importance of crafting not just creating – that once it is on the page you must sit with it, love it, hate it and reshape it until it tells the story you want it to. This discovery has been daunting in parts, but mainly inspiring.

Anna Kahn – @BYPoets was the first competitive poetry thing I ever applied for. The act of saying “I think my poetry is good enough for this”.

Check out the rest of her answer on her Twitter thread which she tweeted after the showcase itself.


Jolade Olusanya – Through BYP I’ve seen there are many layers to one’s story and to reach its core, you have to truly question what you are trying to say and why. Only then will the written form lend itself to you and not betray what you are capable of creating.

Malakaï Sargeant – Barbican Young Poets is so much more than a workshop session. It breeds a community, one that grows year by year and I am privileged to be a part of it. My writing has grown immeasurably and I’m finally confident enough to actually call myself a poet, constantly growing and learning.

Celestina Rowaiye – What I took away from BYP this year is the power/importance of editing and the usefulness of (the BYP) community and peer support.

Megha Harish – I remember thinking a lot about mudita the year leading up to uni, using it as the grounds on which to ground my applications and personal statement, but I think back then it meant something different to me. It was this strange superior saviour complex thing. It was happiness that is as a result of my actions, it was helping for some selfish pleasure of mine.

Today there’s this real joy that the day has ended on. Jolade just won the Outspoken London Performance Poetry + overall prize. I don’t know him as well as I’d like to. I had nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even there to see it. I didn’t truly realise how much I loved his work until rehearsal on Friday to be honest, it just wasn’t the same watching a video online months ago, but I am so, so, so happy, really brimming, at the end of quite an up and down but mostly down day as well, this has given me a massive up. I think maybe this is what truly being happy because of someone else’s happiness is. This might just be the biggest thing I’ve learnt from BYP.

Jeremiah “SugarJ Poet” Brown

  1. I have learnt and been reminded of the potential of poetry, what a vast world of capabilities that it is. Thank you Jacob, thank you Rachel.
  1. I will take away the love and awe that comes with consistently being in the presence of friends who are also supremely talented. Thank you BYP community.

Ruth Sutoyé – Working collaboratively with other poets changed my poetry Jacob Sam-La Rose is gold. BYP pushed and constantly challenged me, crushed my comfort zone as a poet and I learnt not just about the theory and mechanics of poetry but also how to build my career on a logical level as a poet/facilitator.

Applications for this year’s Barbican Young Poets will re-open in the summer over at the link below. Best of luck!


– Troy

Image courtesy of @ShayDRap

Barbican Young Poets 2017 Showcase

After six months worth of Wednesdays, chocolate Digestives, tube rides from Earls Court to Moorgate and taking up residency in Nuclino and Box for poetry submissions, last Friday was officially 2017’s Barbican Young Poets showcase, the culmination of all of our hard work and fun times.

Roll call:

This year’s showcase consists of the collective efforts of

  • Amber Sidney-Woollett
  • Anita Barton-Williams
  • Anna Kahn
  • Anne Byrne
  • Celestina Rowaiye
  • Eleanor Penny
  • Gabriel Jones
  • Henry Ofori-Kuragu
  • Jeremiah Brown
  • Jessica Sweeney
  • Jessica-Louise (Jazzle) Dunne
  • Jolade Olusanya
  • Joshua Judson
  • Laurie Ogden
  • Lucy Howell
  • Malakai Sargeant
  • Megha Harish
  • Mina Azong
  • Omar Bynon
  • Phoebe Stuckes
  • Remi Graves
  • Ruth Sutoyé
  • Troy Cabida
  • Wei Yuan (Bobby) Liow
  • Zahrah Sheikh

This year’s BYP is spearheaded once again by Jacob Sam La-Rose and co-tutored by Rachel Long, while being safeguarded by the strong and gentle hands of Lauren Monaghan-Pisano and Lorna McGinty, a woman who literally saved my life but that’s for another blog entry altogether.

Final touch ups:

Previous Barbican Young Poets showcases were performed at other places around the Barbican Centre such as Frobisher Auditorium 1 where I was lucky enough to witness the legends that are Gabriel Akamo, Amina Jama (!!!), Theresa Lola and Travis Alabanza in 2016.

2017 marks the first year the showcase is shown at Milton Court Theatre, which is an extremely beautiful venue. It’s spacious without losing its sense of cosiness. They also have some of the kindest lighting assistants, who always cracked a joke to lighten the mood.

What I liked about having to perform onstage like that is the way the spotlight hits you in the face. Not only is it actually warm in a comforting way, but it also really blinds your eyesight and forces you to not see anything past the light, which really helped my initial stage frights.

Photo 24-03-2017, 6 00 28 pm

That’s what we saw when we looked up. Still a beautiful sight, to be honest.

A few words of light and encouragement from Jacob before we headed off to the dressing rooms. I was a bit of a sceptic at first, I’ll be honest, but now I’m a firm believer of using the positive approach when it comes to managing a group of people, albeit still firm and authoritative. No one will ever feel alone or helpless after having to hear Jacob’s advice.

Photo 24-03-2017, 5 08 19 pm

Photo 24-03-2017, 6 55 19 pm

Note the chaos in dressing room one and the calm in dressing room two. Hi @WordofJess!

A night of stars:

I learnt a lot about performing poetry that night. One of those lessons being learning how to perform honest and soul-searching poetry that exposes your humanity out not only to a lot of audience members but to your parents, who sat in row B and who you can see smiling and watching your every move should you look down.

We had three groups clustered altogether after a session of deliberating which themes resonated well with each one of us. Thankfully the poem Jacob and Rachel agreed to have on the anthology matched the group I was already in. The final groups were as follows:

Group 1 = nature and death.

Photo courtesy of @ShayDRap

Group 2 = gender, relationships, sexuality and violence.

Group 3 = disapora and race in modern society.

“My black soul is Dora.” Chills, man.

@AnnaCarlaKahn and @megha_harish
Mina Azong

Here’s a shot of most of the group after the show! Throwing out a huge thank you to everyone who came, cheered, helped out and performed with us. You are all responsible for the magic that took place in that theatre.

Photo courtesy of @ShayDRap

An Orchestra of Feathers and Bone:

Check out our anthology available for your eyes down on the link below!

Photo 26-03-2017, 3 52 49 pm

Also featuring the luminescent smile of @MalakaiSargeant.

– T

Happy new year!

Happy new year to you all!

Got lots to be thankful for, got lots of poetry I’m so happy to have written, and so much people I’m grateful to have in my life, carving me into a man like the ocean tumbling a small pebble. Shout outs to everyone at @BYPoets, my family all over London and Manila, and all my kapatids all over the world, especially my London ones who I spent the first day of the year with. Thank you for letting me reunite with my brotha Kuya Jack Daniel’s haha.

Got lots of awesome things to look forward to in 2017 but for now, here’s a group shot of the #SalabuangGang when we were featured on Chaboba’s Facebook page last week!


Let’s win this 2017, guys.

– T

New poem out now on the latest issue of Cha!

I’ve got a new poem published out!

It’s somehow kismet how this entire thing turned out.

I had met Filipino singer-songwriter June Marieezy this time last year during her London debut performance in Hackney and was, to be quite frank, changed by our short but sweet interaction. One of them involved me writing a poem based on that and everything else that I’ve learnt from it, resulting in it coming out through the 32nd issue of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

“Soul Child” is part of the Distance section of the issue, which is in collaboration with Health in Action, a Hong Kong charity that promotes community health and wellbeing through the empowerment of the underprivileged. The publication of this special section will coincide with Health in Action’s Refugee Week Art Movement (week of 20 June 2016) to raise awareness for asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong. (20 June 2016 is World Refugee Day.)

Funny how this poem was also published in June, the month which a lot of people on Twitter refer to as June’s month.

“Soul Child” by Troy Cabida

I hope you all enjoy reading my poem (alongside the rest of the beautifully crafted issue) as much as I enjoyed writing and living it.

Shout outs to the team of Cha: Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Reid Mitchell, BBP Hosmillo, Mag Tan and Eddie Tay. And shout outs to all my fellow contributors; I’m stoked to be a part of an issue which features a lot of fellow Filipino literary artists!!!

– Troy

Catching up

2016 is shaping up to be one heck of a year. And I can’t get enough of it.

Been learning how to really work my butt off and even though the excess result is a lack of sleep, Sims 2 playtime, sometimes prolonged confusion or lutang (sorry Facebook group chat members) and a general absence from my blog, rest assured all is well and will be better than before.

In midst of bagging groceries, wandering around London Zoo and interning for Start Your Business, here’s a recap of some of the new poems that have been published and have found their new homes in different sites and journals since January!

WISH“Some are more equal than others”

Thank you to Jeremiah Walton, Scott Thomas Outlar and the whole team behind Walking Is Still Honest! Glad to have this Bamboo-esque poem out. And what a journal to have it featured on, too! Check out the interview I did with them too here. This goes out for those working hard; keep at it and ignore the stupidity, guys.

The Poet Community“Road Trip”, “Falling Leaves”

Shout outs to Guy Farmer for publishing these poems! “Road Trip” was loosely inspired by my Isle of Wight road trip last year and the Karylle song, of course, whilst “Falling Leaves” is a very special poem of mine because it’s a #TBT to sixth form and going the long way home just because. I’m still grinning and grateful to finally have my now three-year old poem out! Felt like my child graduated from university!

Eastlit (March 2016)“Sunday Mass & Other Poems”

Ever since I got featured on Our Own Voice it’s been my personal mission to be featured in more Asian-themed journals. The literature I read from these journals are always so compelling and inspiring.

“Posh” deals with the first time I returned to the Philippines and got some interesting comments. “Selenite” is a love letter to my sister in Heaven and “Who We’re Writing For” is actually republished, first appearing on Parallel Ink’s second issue on Issuu. “Sunday Mass” depicts a true story of one morning mass in London, a day when Typhoon Yolanda was still fresh in every Filipino’s heart.

Thank you to Graham Lawrence for accepting my poetry and to all of those who praised my work! I send to you my gratitude. I also got news lately that the issue got the highest amount of views and traction from readers ever!

Anomaly Lit“Cover Down/Strip Up”

One of my older, darker pieces gets the Anomaly treatment in their second issue. It was interesting looking back on the roots of that poem and then having to fast forward to the present and just seeing the difference from yesterday to today. Thank you to entire team behind Anomaly and to my friend Lorcán Black who was so cool and awesome towards my work. I can’t wait for the next issue! Watch out for their third issue coming very, very soon.

I was also a part of their podcast that goes with every issue; if you want to hear my voice talking about my work and why I do why I do, hit this link. Happy reading and listening!

Ink, Sweat & Tears“Anvil”

“Anvil” is one of my newer poems and I was lucky enough to have had it published quicker than I thought. This one’s pretty special too because the poem wouldn’t work without mentioning Filipino band Yolanda Moon, whose music inspired me to write the poem. Luckily I got their permission to keep the poem that way it is. Thank you to Helen Ivory and Yolanda Moon!

Check out their debut album Light of Day on Spotify! They’re pretty cool.

Infinity House 2016

I’ve also got a new writing gig! This time it’s over at Infinity House Magazine, where I write primarily about healing, crystal work, nerdiness and all that interesting concept of human relationships. Head on the link on the previous sentence or check out each article I’ve written so far on the link below:

Shout outs to Ford!

– Troy