This response essay engages the three book discussion essays by Ronald Mendoza–de Jesús, Petra R. Rivera-Rideau, and Rocío Zambrana on The Cry of the Senses: Listening to Latinx and Caribbean Poetics (2020). Following questions of anti-Blackness in Spanish Caribbean (especially Puerto Rican) aesthetics, culture, and history that are distinctly presented and theorized in each of the scholarly interlocutor’s book-forum essays, this essay thinks about reading itself and other perceptual modes, such as listening, qua Whiteness, “the ontic,” and “slow violence.” In its (re)considerations of the senses, it additionally critiques several foci of contemporary aesthetic and cultural theory and production, such as the current fashion of hyperbolizing aesthesis and poiesis as salvific and unquestionably relational in lieu of reckoning with ethical questions of reading, the perilous return of vitalism, and the discourse of White cultural nationalism afoot in representations of Puerto Rico today.

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