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 Poet’s 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. Torres’s 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 Torres’s statement on growing up and the inspirational facets that accompany his journey into fatherhood. From conversations in cars to fast-beat lullabies, Torres’s 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.
“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 brain’s 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