Dr. Craig Santos Perez
Craig is an indigenous Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is a poet, scholar, editor, publisher, essayist, critic, book reviewer, artist, environmentalist, and political activist.
Employment & Education:
Craig is a Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, where he teaches creative writing, eco-poetry, and Pacific literature. He is affiliate faculty with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the Indigenous Politics Program. He served as Chair of the Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander Board in the Office of General Education (2017-2020), and as the Director of the Creative Program (2014-2016 and 2019-2020).He 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 Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a faculty member for Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA, 2018), Kundiman Writers Retreat (2019), and Mokulēʻia Writers Retreat (2019).
Publications, Editing, and Service
Craig is the author of two spoken word poetry albums, Undercurrent (2011) and Crosscurrent (2017), and five books of poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (2008), from unincorporated territory [saina] (2010), from unincorporated territory [guma’] (2014), from unincorporated territory [lukao] (2017), and Habitat Threshold (2020). His work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.
His scholarly monograph, Wayreading Chamorro Literature from Guam: Indigeneity, Decolonization, and Aesthetics, is under contract with the Indigenous Studies Series at the University of Arizona Press. His critical essays have been published in national and international peer-reviewed academic journals and anthologies, including The Ethnic Studies Review; College Literature; English Language Notes; Humanities; American Quarterly; Amerasia; Asian American Literary Review; Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies; Ecopoetics and the Global Landscape: Critical Essays; The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literatures; Border Crossings: Essays in Identity and Belonging; Archipelagic American Studies; Huihui: Pacific Rhetoric and Aesthetics; and Postcolonial Literature and Climate Change.
He is the co-founder of Ala Press (the only publisher in the US dedicated to Pacific literature) and the co-editor of five anthologies of Pacific literature and eco-literature: Chamoru Childhood (2008), Home(is)lands: New Art and Writing from Guahan and Hawaiʻi (2018), Effigies III: Indigenous Pacific Islander Poetry (2019), Indigenous Literatures from Micronesia (2019), and Geopoetics in Practice (2020).
He serves on the editorial boards of Sun Tracks, an indigenous literature series with the University of Arizona Press, and The Contemporary Pacific, an academic journal of Pacific Islands Studies published by the University of Hawaiʻi Press. In 2018, Craig became the series editor for the New Oceania Literary Series with the University of Hawaiʻi Press. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Pacific Islanders in Communication, which focuses on Pacific film and television. At the University of Hawaiʻi, he co-curates the Native Voices Reading and Lecture Series, the Chamorro Studies Speaker Series, and the New Oceania Literary Series.
He has been a member for the Humanities for the Environment Asia-Pacific Observatory, the Consortium of Environmental Philosophers, the Pacific Leadership Assistance Network, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, and the American Comparative Literature Association.
He has performed his poetry and delivered lectures in Guam, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, England, Germany, Liechtenstein, and Russia. He was a featured speaker during the Festival of Pacific Arts (2016), the Indigenous Book Festival (2015), the Singapore Writers Festival (2020), and the Dodge Poetry Festival (2020). He has performed his environmental poetry at the 350.org Honolulu Climate March, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance conference, the Sydney Environment Institute, the International Conference on Environmental Futures, a Mellon Seminar on Environmental Futures, and the “Imagining Climate Change” project at the Kahn Liberal Arts institute seminar.
The film version of his poem, “Praise Song for Oceania,” created by Hawaiian filmmaker Justyn Ah Chong, was screened at the Guam International Film Festival (2017), the Hawaii International Film Festival (2017), the Native Spirit Film Festival (United Kingdom, 2017), the Transoceanic Visual Exchange (Australia & Barbados, 2017), and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (2018). The film also screened at the Hita I Hanom: We are Water Exhibition of the Guam Humanities Council (2016), the UNESCO Ocean Literacy for All Conference (Italy, 2017), and the Sustaining our Seas conference (Australia, 2017). During the month of April 2018, the film was featured on COMCAST Cinema Asian America and The Hawaiian Airlines on-flight programming.
Awards and Praise
Craig has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2010) and the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry (2019), and he has received the Pen Center USA/Poetry Society of America Literary Prize (2011), the American Book Award (2015), the Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2016), and the Hawai’i Literary Arts Council Elliot Cades Literary Award (2017), the most prestigious literary prize in Hawaiʻi. For his scholarship, he has received a Ford Foundation Fellowship (2009-2011) and the American Council of Learned Societies Scholars and Society Fellowship (2020-2021). In 2016, he received the University of Hawaiʻi Chancellors’ Citation for Meritorious Teaching.
His work has been featured in BBC Cultural Frontline, CNBC, The Atlantic, Slate, The New Republic, Vice, The Guardian, The World Meteorological Organization, The Honolulu Star Advertiser, Honolulu Magazine, The Pacific Daily News, and The Guam Daily Post.
In 2010, the Guam Legislature passed Resolution No. 315-30, recognizing and commending Craig “as an accomplished poet who has been a phenomenal ambassador for our island, eloquently conveying through his words, the beauty and love that is the Chamorro culture.”
- University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa faculty page
- Poetry Foundation
- Academy of American Poets
- Humanities for the Environment