Clint Lanier Craig Santos Perez to Deliver Virtual Talk/Performance | New Mexico State University - BE BOLD. Shape the Future.
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Craig Santos Perez to Deliver Virtual Talk/Performance

Tonight will be exciting for readers. Craig Santos Perez stitches together his poems organic to his culture, geography, history, language, and politics, and it’s interesting to hear this poet perform his work. 
Critic Timothy Otte has described Perez's project as "complex, layered, and shifting. It's a work of activism, history and archiving, and through it all, a carefully composed work sensitive to a poetic history." Perez's work is interested in the legacy of colonization of Guam, first by Spain in the sixteenth century and then by the United States as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1898, then by Japan for three years during World War II until the US returned in 1944. You'll notice that his books' titles invoke the word "unincorporated." Guam is currently an unincorporated organized territory of the US and one of the longest continuously colonized places in the world. Perez is interested in how Guam resembles both a prison and a military base. He states: "The US military occupies about one-third of Guam's entire landmass, and the military fences figuratively surround and imprison the people of Guam. In another sense, Guam is imprisoned by the island's unincorporated political status, neither able to fully incorporate and access full constitutional rights, nor able to fully unincorporate from its colonial warden and become an independent Pacific nation."


Perez is also very invested in the contemporary Chamorro aesthetic practice of interweaving poetry and politics. Art is seen as a fluid political medium, and politics are seen as metaphorical and artistic. Perez states that "Chamorro writers are employing the medium of poetry to challenge the hegemonic forces of colonialism, militarism, and capitalism threatening the culture, environment, and people of Guam." Chamorro writers "reveal instead the ruptures caused by indigenous Chamorro struggles for self-determination, decolonization, and demilitarization." Chamorro poets are attempting to challenge "dominant colonial perceptions through poetry." We can read how Perez uses political in his writing as an extension of this idea of politics as metaphor and art--so that these other voices blend seamlessly or dissonantly with other voices.
Perez juxtaposes historical, government, online, tourist industry, climate report  sources in a sort of collage effect. “Collage” might be an aesthetic way of seeing it, and Perez may or may not resist the term “collage.” “Collage” as a term risks whitewashing this practice as merely a Modernist poetics. A Chamorro poetics might see the effect as “call and response” forms, becoming a space for rebirth. This is an important and vital poet. 
To attend the reading, you must register for the event here