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Pierre Alferi


Pierre Alferi is one of today’s most innovative French poets and the son of philosopher Jacques Derrida. His works include Night and Day (translated by Kate Campbell, La Presse Poetry, Nov. 2012). and Kub Or (translated by Cole Swensen as Oxo, Burning Deck). In France, he has published several books of poetry, including Les Allures naturelles (1991), Le Chemin familier du poisson combatif (1992), Sentimentale journée (1997), La Voie des airs (2004) as well as the novels Fmn (1994), Le cinéma des familles (1999), and most recently Les Jumelles (2009). Alféri is a professor of creative writing at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.


Alferi nurtures collaboration with other artists and often performs with musicians, painters and fellow poets. He co-founded the literary review Détail with Suzanne Doppelt, a photographer and professor at the European Graduate School, and La Revue de Littérature Générale with Olivier Cadio. His collaboration with sculptor Jacques Julien led to the production of the DVD Ca commence à Séoul (2007). Alferi has also written lyrics for actress and singer Jeanne Balibar. He wrote two of the songs for Balibar's 2003 album, Slalom Dame ("Cinéma" and "Ton Diable"), in collaboration with composer Rodolphe Burger. Alferi is well-known for his translations of works by John Donne, George Oppen, Louis Zukofsky, Giorgio Agamben, and Meyer Schapiro into French. He has also made the experimental film, Cinépoèmes & films parlants, which features readings of his poetry with music and projections (DVD, 2003).

Alferi’s books experiment with linguistic formulas and reflexive writing, without falling into the trap of empty lyricism. In his writing, all categories merge and stretch to compose a form that is constantly reinvented and critically connected to the surrounding world. Alferi's verse seems pleased to be irregular, often short with fast cuts and breaks, as if to signify the difficulty of achievement and the refusal of restraints.

More about the author, here

Hear Alferi reading his work, here


Available in English:
Night and Day, Fence Books, 2012

Translated by Kate Campbell from P.O.L. (1997)

Poetry in French (POL Editions):
Kiwi, POL (2012)
Après vous (2010)
Les Jumelles (2009)
Ça commence à Séoul (2007)
La Voie des airs (2004)
Des enfants et des monstres (2004)
petit, petit, Rup et rud, 2001
Handicap (with Jacques Julien), Rroz, 2000
Personal Pong (with Jacques Julien), Villa Saint-Clair, Sète, 1997
Sentimentale journée (1997)
Fmn (1994)
Kub Or (1994)
Le Chemin familier du poisson combatif (1992)
Les Allures naturelles (1991)

Fmn, POL, Paris, 1994 ISBN 2-86744-440-3
Le Cinéma des familles, POL, Paris, 1999 ISBN 2-86744-713-5
Les Jumelles, POL, Paris, 2009 ISBN 978-2-84682-309-8
Après vous, POL, Paris, 2010 ISBN 978-2-8180-0009-0

Guillaume d'Ockham le singulier, Minuit, coll. « Philosophie », Paris, 1989
Chercher une phrase, Christian Bourgois, coll. « Détroits », Paris, 1991
Des enfants et des monstres, POL, Paris, 2004

Video Lectures:
Films, Novels and Poetry. 2008. 56min
Reading and Multimedia. 2007. 55min
The Poet and the Nightingale. 2006. 38min

Ca Commence à Séoul - DVD. Pierre Alferi, Jacques Julien, Le Label Dernière Bande and Éditions P.O.L. 2007
L'inconnu, Pierre Alferi, Jacques Julien, le Quartier - Centre d'art contemporain de Quimper. 2004