STRARAM, Patrick. Tea for one (in Ecrits du Canada Francais VI). Montreal, 23 Feb. 1960. 347 p.; 14 x 20 cm.; white cover with text in black.
This often-neglected Straram text is a critical milestone in the young man’s personal and intellectual journey.
From a bio-bibliographical standpoint, “tea for one” is important because it is Straram’s first text published in North America. The Frenchman had left Paris in April 1954 – both to flee conscription and settle with his young wife, Lucille – and settled in Vancouver, Canada. After 4 years in British Columbia, where he mostly worked as a woodcutter, Straram relocated to Montreal in June 1958 and resumed the literary life he had put on hold for half a decade. “Tea for one”, which was written in June 1959 and published in February 1960, was praised by literary critics (e.g., Gilles Marcotte in Le Devoir, «Vie des lettres, Tea for one de Patrick Straram», 19 March 1960) and allowed Straram to start building a reputation in Montreal’s literary circles.
“Tea for one” is also important intellectually because it precedes (if only by a few months) the Cahier pour un Paysage a Inventer (see more here: https://situationnisteblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/cahier-pour-un-paysage-a-inventer/) This is around the time that Straram had resumed his correspondence with Guy Debord — Debord’s letters to Straram have been translated by Not Bored! and are available here: http://www.notbored.org/debord.html.
The text itself is the account of a type of “urban derive” through Montreal — the Situationist overtones are very clear in it.
“Tea for one” was reprinted in Blues Clair (Montreal: Herbes Rouge, pp.7-42) in 1983