Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Etching  by  Adam  Rish .

When The Café L'absurd, in Balmain, Sydney, opened its doors at midnight every Friday for poetic readings in the l980s  , it attracted a  colourful crowd    at  the  witching hour . An  illustrated article on the Café L'absurd  experiment  appeared in  ASPECT, Art and Literature, June 1981. In the preface written by the journal's editor, Rudi Krausmann , he said the midnight  readings over  the  months  had been successful , possibly because many aspects  and manifestations  of contemporary society , if not all of it , had become  as absurd  as  the verbal  expressions  of  its protagonists .  
Continuing,  he  maintained the  conventional media-television, theatres, broadcasts- had been conventional , cautious , if  not  corrupt , lacking innovation  and originality . "I do not suggest  that the readings  every Friday midnight  in the Café L'absurd  can make  up for the deplorable  state, but  they are  at  least a  drop in the ocean , the ocean  of commercial  crudity  and banality  we  are daily confronted with . As  such they are and hopefully will remain  a  refreshing  experiment . "
Café  proprietor Michael Ahearn , photograph  by  Judo Gemes.
Poets who performed there included  Rae Desmond Jones, Chris Mansell, Nigel Roberts , Richard Tipping , Anna Couani , Andrew McDonald   and Cornelis Vleeskens . Interstate  and  international   readers  also   contributed from time to time .  Café L'absurd  moved to  Newtown  and  became   New Partz, the   Sydney centre  of  performed poetry.--(  Ponsonby Willis  special  .)