Synopses & Reviews
In this vibrant reflection of sound and word, poet Edwin Torres reignites the possibilities of poetry. From poems like “Me No Habla Spic,” a rumination of lifes major moments, to “Fixative,” which exercises shifting vantage points, Torres is nimble—surfing through memory, definition, and forms of social address. In this new collection, Torres offers some signature performance pieces for the first time in print.
Ameriscopia reimagines New York City and its expansive inspirations, which for Torres capture the contradictions of America. Allusions to the Twin Towers, Coney Island hot dogs, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe continuously recolor the pages. But even as he makes these iconic references, Torres allows his poems to invert and refract the identities they evoke—New-Yorker-American-Latino-Dad-Performer-Boy-Writer—to invigorate poetry out of its slumber into a deep cultural urgency. Torress kaleidoscopic vision is borne of decades of poetic experimentation. Audiences have delighted in his spontaneous mashups of disparate topic matters; writers have studied his skilled technique at synthesizing—for example, from a mundane curbside view to an imagined conversation with artists Marcel Duchamp and Yves Tanguy.
Torres writes, “I discovered that, this world uncovered / is like the soul / of The Puerto Rican man — occupied / by the weight of his balance.” Ameriscopia is Torress statement on growing up and the inspirational facets that accompany his journey into fatherhood. From conversations in cars to fast-beat lullabies, Torress poetry taps into rhythms both distinctive and dynamic. In Ameriscopia Torres is at full force, a poet in control, a writer emboldened by the page—in flight.
“Edwin Torress poetry is more than a high energy-construct—it is words and sounds gone wild, like dancers straining to break free of pattern. His prose poems are clusters of dazzling density that let ‘every sound in. And out. Everywhere, the borders have broken down. There is no other poet who writes like Torres. Elaborate, chanting, pointed, and granite in their ‘octaves of shine, his poems have it all. They are a real and gritty pleasure to read, a necessary tonic to these toxic times.”—John Yau, author of Further Adventures in Monochrome
“In Ameriscopia, Edwin Torres—lingo maestro of the ‘whyknows—casts a passionate, ironic, diasporic lens from symbolic hair to linguistic heart; where nothing fits in everything, where disparate beauty finds a space in the most beautiful of Nuyorican hazes. The brains language takes on a new lexicon undefined by sentiment, mercurial, and too quick to pin down into facile categorization. When poets say that language should be created, they mean ‘read Edwin Torres. ”—Willie Perdomo, author of The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon
“I have always hung with what hovers between sound and song in Torres work, there, where the human “I” is born and quivers. In that place, this poet fills the void with voice.” —Eleni Sikelianos, author of The Loving Detail of the Living and the Dead
“No one does what Edwin Torres does. He has always been a master of earnest incantatory narrations of life, love, and culture. But that's only part of the deal. Ameriscopia is a testament to the way his art has evolved over twenty years. Here the alternating streams of the chilling, the comic, and the mesmerizing sweep the reader up into a landscape familiar but entirely new.”—Lisa Jarnot, author of Joie de Vivre, Selected Poems 1992-2012
“For over three breathtaking generative decades, Edwin Torres has been writing the membrane that lies between the fuzzy-real of the culturally residual and the hyper-real of the culturally emergent. In this definitive collection, Torres identities (Historys objects)—‘nation, ‘family, ‘selfhood, ‘city, ‘work-world, ‘aesthetics—are all super-imposed and laser-sculpted into an infra-biographical journey that pulls in readers into the possibility of their own social body excitements.”—Rodrigo Toscano, author of Deck of Deeds
Shattering the definition of Latino into a million little pieces, poet Edwin Torres reassembles identity into something that is more likely and at the same time unexpected, complex, and multifaceted. From conversations in cars to fast-beat lullabies, Ameriscopia is a collection that taps into rhythms both distinctive and dynamic.
About the Author
Edwin Torres is a poet, performance artist, and graphic designer born in New York City. He is the author of several poetry collections, and his work has been included in many anthologies, such as Postmodern American Poetry, Vol. 2 (Norton Books).