Perception, Imagination, and the Self: Pierre Alferi’s Fmn


Pierre Alferi plays directly on the visual dynamics of thought throughout his work, exploring what we see, what we don’t, and the extent to which this is conditioned by both sensory and linguistic habit. His poetry not only manifests the extent to which the relation between thought and experience is dynamic and interactive, it challenges the traditional dividing line between perceptual and imaginative experience. This has direct repercussions on our conception of the individual. In order to elaborate on these claims, I will focus on Fmn, drawing from recent work by the philosopher Colin McGinn. My aim is to suggest that Alferi’s concentration on the visual is bound to his belief that actual experience cannot be compartmentalized into experience of the real world on the one hand, and that of imaginary worlds on the other. Thought, for him, is characterized by the dynamic interaction of the two, and this makes experience what it is. All of his work is marked by his awareness of and attentiveness to this crossover.

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