Imagine Otherwise: Craig Santos Perez on a Decolonial and Demilitarized Pacific

Nov 22, 2018 | Podcast

In the latest episode of Imagine Otherwise, I talk with Chamoru poet and professor Craig Santos Perez about how creation stories, Spam, and the birth of his daughter inspired his most recent book of poetry; why poetry is such a powerful way into social justice activism; the future of Pacific Islander publishing; and how communal storytelling is one way Craig contributes to a decolonial and demilitarized Pacific.

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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Craig’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Guest: Craig Santos Perez

Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is the author of four collections of poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (2008), from unincorporated territory [saina] (2010), from unincorporated territory [guma’] (2014), and from unincorporated territory [lukao] (2017).

He is also the author of two spoken word albums (Undercurrent and Crosscurrent), editor of three anthologies, and co-founder of Ala Press, the only press in the United States dedicated to Pacific Islander poetry.

He has received the PEN Center USA Literary Award, the American Book Award, a Ford Foundation fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation literary fellowship.

Craig holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco and a PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Craig is an associate professor at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa and for more than a decade, he has been involved in decolonization, demilitarization, food sovereignty, and environmental justice movements in the Pacific.

Key quote

“Literature, activism, and education are always collaborative projects. I always want to tap into that spirit, to think about other scholars, poets, activists, or students who I can work with on various projects. I feel like I have so much to learn from other people, so I want to be always in conversation, to continue to learn and listen to other writers and artists. In my own position as a publisher, editor, and academic, I have access to spaces and to resources and so I want to always make sure I’m able to work with other folks and to bring in the spirit of collaboration, which is very much at the core of Pacific culture and also Pacific studies.”

– Craig Santos Perez on episode 76 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast


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