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from unincorporated territory [hacha]

Craig Santos Perez


October 2017

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Reprinted with a new afterword by the author

from unincorporated territory [hacha] is the first book of native Chamorro poet Craig Santos Perez’s ongoing series about his homeland, the Western Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). Perez weaves avant-garde, eco-poetic, indigenous, documentary, multilingual, and abstract expressionist modes to tell the complex story of Guam’s people, culture, history, politics, and ecologies. Since its original publication in 2008, [hacha] has received positive reviews, and it has been taught in universities throughout Asia, the Pacific, the United States, Canada, and Europe. Several scholars have written essays about Perez’s work in American Literary History, The Journal of Transnational American Studies, The Contemporary Pacific, Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticsm, Literary Geographies, and The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Poetry. This new and revised edition aims to bring the book to a new generation of readers.

The act of remembering is the art of recovery, and the art of reclaiming a past that has never been hidden only silences is an act of responsibility. Craig Santos Perez has arrived to give voice and meaning to the unheralded narratives with his fierce debut from unincorporated territory [hacha]. 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 Santos Perez is a poet with a mission, and with the skill and battle cry to do it right.

Rigoberto González, author of Unpeopled Eden

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.

Robert Sullivan, author of Star Waka

In Craig Santos Perez’s from unincorporated territory [hacha] 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 [hacha] rejects the blank space on American maps and in American consciousness.

Barbara Jane Reyes, author of Poeta en San Francisco and Diwata

About the Author

Craig Santos Perez, a native Chamorro from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam), co-edited three anthologies of Pacific literature and authored three poetry books: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (2008), from unincorporated territory [saina] (2010, PEN Center USA/Poetry Society of America Literary Prize recipient), and from unincorporated territory [guma’] (2014, American Book Award recipient). He holds an MFA from the U of San Francisco and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa,

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from lisiensan ga’lago

                        geographic absence ~

“the old census records show”

            because who can stand on the              reef
and name that below water          and sky

            imagined territory ~

                        “a spanish baptismal name and”

                                    burnt villages

                                                archipelago of

“chamoru last names drawn from
            the lexicon of everyday language”

                                                carved word

“it is possible they changed
            their last names throughout their lives”

remade : sovereign

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