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Natural Gaits

Pierre Alféri

Translated from the French by Cole Swensen

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Pierre Alféri
Natural Gaits
Series No.: SMC 095
ISBN: 1-55713-231-3, Pages: 43
French Literature, Poetry

A Sun & Moon title.

* * *

Pierre Alferi is one of the exciting new breed of French poets who are becoming increasingly popular among younger readers of poetry. Among his books of poetry to date are Natural Gaits, The Familiar Path of the Fighting Fish, and Kub Or. The latter two books of poetry will be published by Sun & Moon Press in upcoming seasons.

Dealing with sequence and movement, Natural Gaits combines the analytical and scientific with an ongoing, almost breathless, poetic voice; the poem reads almost as if a scientist were to recite his most recent analyses by playing a long saxophone riff:

rather than erratic leaps
oscillations; inversion
of the chord (but each
simple insoluble mood
forgets all the others—not their effects
their becoming (except
for that always latent mood
so clear it would leave nothing
in a latent state and would put
an end to oscillation (but
the chord not matched
to its own becoming
resolves nothing.

Alferi constructs a linguistic machine of impacted grammar that drives the poem in absolutely breathtaking directions.

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