Pierre Alferi and Jakob von Uexküll: Experience and Experiment in Le Chemin familier du poisson combatif


This article focuses on Alferi’s second book of poetry, Le Chemin familier du poisson combatif, published in 1992. It is a companion piece to my article, “Pierre Alferi and the Poetics of the Dissolve” which examines his 1997 collection, Sentimentale journée. 1 The notion of the dissolve links two things that are crucial in Alferi: first, the way sense keeps forming and dispersing in his poems through a variety of means mirrored by frequent references to cinema and other technological media: as in cinema, rupture and continuity are both essential to the process. Second, the way his poetic language, working through processes of disruption or interruption, and favoring a thematics of cognitive experiment and bewilderment in everyday contexts, offers an image of subjective experience or identity that stresses the pleasures and pains of self-dissolution. What I call a “poetics of the dissolve” is bound up with the consistently experimental—or fauxexperimental— bias of Alferi’s work, its play with procedures and modes of conjecture associated with different kinds of scientific inquiry.

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