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Craig Santos Perez

Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is a poet, scholar, editor, activist, essayist, critic, and book reviewer. He is the co-founder of Ala Press (the only publisher in the US dedicated to Pacific literature), co-star of the spoken word audio book Undercurrent (2011), and author of three books of poetry: From Unincorporated Territory [hacha] (2008), From Unincorporated Territory [saina] (2010), and From Unincorporated Territory [guma] (2014), winner of the American Book Award 2015 from the Before Columbus Foundation. Craig works as an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, where he teaches creative writing and Pacific literature. Craig earned a B.A. from the University of Redlands (2002), an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco (2006), and an MA (2009) and Ph.D. (2015) in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the Lannan Fellowship for Poetry in 2016.

From Unincorporated Territory [Guma']

A native Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Gu han (Guam), Craig Santos Perez has lived for two decades away from his homeland. This new collection maps the emotional and geographic cartographies of his various migrations, departures, and arrivals. Through a variety of poetic forms, the poet highlights the importance of origins and customs amidst new American cultures and terrains. Furthermore, this book draws attention to, and protests, the violent currents of colonialism and militarism currently threatening Gu han, a “strategic” US territory since 1898. The poet memorializes what his people have lost and insists that we must protect and defend what we have left of home.


“The journeys that we are meant to take through [Perez’s] texts are just as much through time and history as they are across oceans in the Pacific.”—Michael Lujan, Transmotion

“Craig Santos Perez is quite simply writing some of the most significant poetry of the early 21st century. Employing struck-through lists of dead soldiers, fractured diary entries on a return to Guam or shoplifting Vienna Sausages, public comments from Draft Environmental Impact Statements, and searing poems of brevity and heart, Perez is re-mapping a post-colonial America, one pitch-perfect syllable at a time.” —Mark Nowak, author of Coal Mountain Elementary

“The navigation strategies of this writing trouble the water and, in so doing, conjure officially unincorporated territory into a new and decidedly unofficial being, one vocal, trans-oceanic, multiple, and searching. Song—“to sing/ forward…to/ sing past”—is part of the superflux; so, necessarily, is the corporeal—“my body these excerpts.” And in these pages the conjuration, Craig Santos-Perez’s appeal, his long-term accounting of what “the meaning of Guam” might be, continues on magnificently.” —C. S. Giscombe , author of Prairie Style


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