Ameriscopia: The Kaleidoscopic Poetic of Edwin Torres between Sound, Language, Image

Irene Polimante


In 2014 the Arizona University Press published Ameriscopia, the last collection of poems by Edwin Torres, in the series “Camino del Sol” (a series completely devoted to latino and latina writers). In this volume, the poet-performer, who’d like to define himself as a lingualisualist, witty undertakes a demanding challenge. Torres offers several samples of performance pieces in print, while he tries to outline a new representation of the composite reality of New York, using his latino belonging as a starting point of an analysis of the contradictions of the whole country. Visions, memories, conversations, together with allusions and glimpses of the main sites of New York help the author to create an imaginary path through the multifaceted, wedge issue of Americanness. Since the language system is pivotal to convey identity, Torres’ linguistic investigation aims to explore the innumerable interconnections between representation and sense, sign and signified, in order to find new solutions for English and Spanish to inter-change, blur and melt into one another. At the core of this study there is a delicate equilibrium between image and sound inside the linguistic context. According to Torres, words, first of all, are images that go hand in hand with sounds and rhythms, and whose emotional and communicative power endorses the ability to create new language patterns. These linguistic models develop inside the margins and the fractures created into language, between languages and by collective consciousness. Moreover, they lay the foundation for Torres’ kaleidoscopic view of reality; for a different representation of a reality on an ongoing transformation and re-definition.

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