from unincorporated territory [hacha]
Tinfish Press (2008) | Purchase via Small Press Distribution
Small Press Spotlight at Critical Mass: The Blog of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors
Note from the publisher
In the preface to his first book, a lyrical epic on the violent convergences of colonialisms on Guam (Japanese and American), history, family, and language (Chamorro and English), Perez writes: “On some maps, Guam doesn’t exist; I point to an empty space in the Pacific and say, ‘I’m from here.’ On some maps, Guam is a small, unnamed island; I say, ‘I’m from this unnamed place.’ On some maps, Guam is named ‘Guam, U.S.A.’ I say, ‘I’m from a territory of the United States.” On some maps, Guam is named, simply, ‘Guam’; I say, ‘I am from Guam.’” Written in the spirit of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée and Barbara Jane Reyes’s Poeta en San Francisco, Perez’s book promises to add significantly to a growing canon of Pacific poetries.
Praise for from unincorporated territory [hacha]
The act of remembering is the art of recovery, and the art of reclaiming a past that has never been hidden only silenced is an act of responsibility. Craig Perez Santos has arrived to give voice and meaning to the unheralded narratives with his fierce debut “from unincorporated territory.” At once a palimpsest and an archive of “retrievable history,” this book of poems is sure to place Guam on both the literary and geographical maps. This poet of consciousness, of communal memory, and of political fury, has undone the callous erasure of imperialism and empowered his people’s folklore, stories and journeys. Craig Perez Santos is a poet with a mission, and with the skill and battle cry to do it right.
In Craig Santos Perez’s from unincorporated territory we hear the movement of the Pacific Ocean; turning each page we hear the oars of the people navigating this ocean. This is a smart, formalistically rigorous, and unapologetically political collection of poetry. Personal, tender, and tough, Perez’s poems, collages of text and images offer a necessary critical, historical perspective on American ownership, Western tourism, and simultaneous erasure of the island of Guam. from unincorporated territory rejects the blank space on American maps and in American consciousness. This is a very satisfying read that I will return to again and again.
—Barbara Jane Reyes
Perez’s deft first book delivers a Guam outside the story of the ‘nation,’ reminding us who and what is ‘from’ his island through the biography of touch, and the intermingled military and colonialist histories brought to the Chamorro people from far across the ocean.
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