Pierre Alferi: A Bountiful Surface of Blues


In 1995 Pierre Alferi and another young French poet, Olivier Cadiot, published a new journal entitled Revue de Littérature Générale. The journal was devoted to contemporary French writing, but its focus was mostly poetry. In France at the end of the twentieth century, the practice of poetry was fragmented and characterized by a multitude of mini-groups often fiercely battling each other. To fuel the fire on this battlefield, a myriad of journals existed, each for the sole purpose, it seemed, to advance the views and theoretical dictates of the few members of the groups producing them. With the new millennium, the situation has eased somewhat. Alferi and Cadiot’s new journal was thus a breath of fresh air, in the sense that it was conceived as a forum, a place where many views could be expressed without any pre-determined, partisan agenda. The journal was also extraordinary in that it did not conform to the standard format of slim French poetry journals, but had close to 500 pages. The extraordinary nature of the published beast probably explains why there were only two issues: 1995 and 1996. Nevertheless, it put Alferi’s name in the public domain, and this early publishing enterprise remains emblematic of his status in the jungle world of French contemporary poetry: a rara avis, a strange bird.

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