cover image XoeteoX: The Infinite Word Object

XoeteoX: The Infinite Word Object

Edwin Torres. Wave, $18 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-940696-74-4

Poet and performance artist Torres (Ameriscopia) cannibalizes the book form through a hybrid assemblage of various experimental gestures juxtaposed with plainspoken lines. His work features various kinds of typographical play, barely legible cutups combined with poésie concrète, and Dadaist soundplay grounded in Nuyorican spoken word–style improvisations. As Torres proclaims early on, “the between object/ is every object, every edge/ is the one that decides — how to read/ the one between. In “Talisman,” he writes that “The invention — is in the danger,” evidenced by the book’s urgent movement through sound bending and visual experimentation that incorporates symbols and diagrams. Upending expectation by rarely allowing comfort in the legibility of narrative or character, the book loses its momentum in the moments when the pyrotechnic language smooths into more pedestrian usage. But the work is breathtaking at its best, in “the new phrases we need — to breathe/ in the run — of sounding out — connections.” Torres demands attention to the invention of a new kind of language that contains the possibilities of opening up a sparkling new world: “right here/ — at the tip of the tongue — where best to categorize defiance/ but/ in language.” (Oct.)