Natural Gaits

Pierre Alferi, Author, Cole Swensen, Translator Sun & Moon $10.95 (52p) ISBN 978-1-55713-231-4
French poet Alferi, who has written two other books of poetry (which Sun & Moon will publish in upcoming seasons) as well as book-length philosophical essays, uses language to explore physical sensations in his highly cerebral poetry. Each of the 10 poems here is named for a physical property or state, such as ``inertia,'' ``dissipation'' and ``recoil.'' Alferi tries to recreate each property linguistically and probes its metaphorical possibilities. Line breaks do much of the work, forcing the rhythm and grammar to curve to the line's often abrupt endings. In ``pressure,'' lines are cut and impounded, maximizing the poem's own internal pressure: ``a peripheral feeling appears/ after a few months hardly/ a feeling rather/ an easement (a buffer zone) an adjacent/ street, empty.'' The original French is not included in this volume, but Swensen sustains a remarkably natural breath in English. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/1995
Release date: 01/01/1995
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