WILL ALEXANDER ON SOTÉRE TORREGIAN
From Will Alexander's preface to the expanded edition of Sotére Torregian's Age of Gold (Kulchur Foundation 1976; Rêve à Deux 2014):
Sotére Torregian's The Age of Gold has come to poetic fruition in a healthless psychic environment, in an American environment subsumed within a degenerative epoch. He has been compelled to survive its tensions by means of a riotous imagination. I'm referring to the treacherous condition which was the New Jersey of his youth, fraught as it was with galling racial schizophrenia. To paraphrase the historian David Brion Davis, racism remains as the DNA of America. At best it persists as a susurrant nettling to all who exist inside its borders. This is a realization registered early on for such an advanced adept as the young Torregian. Given his racial complexification, and ancestry which includes "Ethiopian", "Arabic", "Greek", and "Moorish"amongst others, there is no surprise that Sotére defied and continues to defy assigned racial limit. He could not and cannot be limited to its defined "performative expectations." In this sense he is not unlike Aimé Césaire ...
Let me say that our species has inhabited for some time this tenuous zone which constitutes the apocalyptic. Within this circumstance regularity can no longer evince itself, so collective habitability on terra luna is now called into question. It seems fraught with abruptness, not unlike the length of a waning December sun. Knowing this to be the background from which Sotére's poetry projects, there can be no preconceived regalia, no constricted oxygen in the writing. Instead it emits a consciousness which leaves one dazed, much like facing the paradox of dawn on Venus.
See also: On the Planet without a Visa: Selected Poetry and Other Writings (Coffee House 2012).