But there is also a place where it is written, where it can be heard and felt: a café dedicated to this art of letters that fantasizes with love and complains of disillusionment, which always wants to live in spring and rebels against skepticism that sometimes comes with old age. Café La Poesía is like an eternal teenager: fresh, inspiring, passionate, but also bohemian, artistic, thinker.
Its story begins in the corner of Chile and Bolívar one sunny day on April 12th 1982, when the great poet Rubén Derlis inaugurates an unavoidable chapter in the history of the Buenos Aires cafés and the cult of literature. Derlis was a member of the '60's Generation, a group of intellectuals bearing the standard of the fight that accompanied the Cuban Revolution, the French May and closer to our time, the Cordobazo. Creating, then, an intimate space in terms of a guild, but also public in its invitations and summons, a comfortable bar for discussing and the kind exchange of ideas and opinions, was one of Derlis' greatest works.
During the six years before it closed, Café La Poesía was home to the bohemian artistic scene of San Telmo, the preferred neighborhood for intellectuals. El Grupo de los Siete (Group of Seven) was founded over its tables as well as Jueves con Juglares and Martes de Poesía gatherings. Furthermore, Poesía 83 and Poesía 84 -poetry readings-, Poesía Lunfarda cycle and some literature and poetry workshops were also created at Café La Poesía. Personalities of the time were often regulars of the café, people such as Onofre Lovero, Hamlet Lima Quintana, Hilda Guerra, Tejada Gómez, Celeste Carballo, Perla Santalla, Pérez Esquivel, Petit de Murat, Alejandrina Devéscovi, Juan Carlos Gené, Néstor Berllés, Miguel Briante, Oscar Del Priore, Isidoro Blaisten, Oscar Ferrigno, Marita Battaglia, Daniel Giribaldi, Héctor Nego, Marino Santa María,
Hernán Oliva, Enrique “Mono” Villegas, Antonio Requeni and many others…
Like all good poetry, this café has its own great love story: in one of its tables, poet and tango lyricist Horacio Ferrer and the the plastic artist Lucía Michelle -“Lulú” to her friends - first met and fell in love, immortalizing their encounter with their faithful presence at La Poesía, not to mention their sensitivity for creation and their always young sense for friendliness. Horacio wrote his maiden a poem called Lulú, which later would be transformed into a waltz by the maestro Raúl Garello. Its first verses go like this: Do you remember Café la Poesía/that magical night in San Telmo?/Buenos Aires planned our meeting/So romantic and sweet Lulú.
On the first table coming through the corner, right hand side next to the window, a plaque crowns its wooden corner commemorating the eternal couple. Others relics of the living room are the plaques that pays tribute to the architect José María Peña and to El grupo de los Siete (The group of Seven), the bronze beer tap and the early XX century old piano, the mezzanine's photo gallery that has over 120 portraits
of masters of Argentinean words, the wooden counter, the collection of cans, bottles and siphons.
Café La Poesía accompanied the growth of the brand- new democracy. Many artists found in this corner a renewed promise of their future and the freedom of expression, but the economic crisis that was brewing with the new national order forced the poet to forsake his muse. During the following years several businesses tried their luck: the neighbors thought the corner had been left cursed since all of their enterprises failed. Maybe the café refused to be anything else than La Poesía because in 2008, finally, that unique rhyme, mixture of ideals, fellas and good food, was felt once again. Its new owners arrived to breathe new life into it, to restore its literary image and polish its best verses.
It is said that a blank sheet is like a fathomless abyss. There are those that see it as a universe of possibilities, so vast and full of space. The truth is that in Café La Poesía one can write without hurries or fears: pages fill themselves with good ideas, nice moments and tasty encounters.