[-empyre-] Decolonial Poetry & Play in the Pacific

Craig Perez csperez at hawaii.edu
Tue Oct 22 10:33:15 AEDT 2019

Hafa adai and Aloha!

Thanks, Margaret, for the invitation to join this exciting discussion.

My poetry focuses on my home island of Guahan (Guam), my current home of
Hawaiʻi, and the larger Pacific and our diasporas. Thematically, I address
issues of decolonization, demilitarization, environmental justice, food
sovereignty, political self-determination, and migration. Four of my books
have been published thus far, with my fifth forthcoming next year (you can
see my books here at my website: www.craigsantosperez.com). When I think
about "play" in my work, I think about my use of playful
techniques/aesthetics, including collage, polyphony, satire, humor, gossip,
the carnivalesque, and metanarratives.

I enjoy thinking of collaboration as a kind of inter-play. The two main
collaborations I have done have been with Hawaiian artists/writers. One art
installation called "defence" can be found here:
http://craigsantosperez.com/defence/. A poem-video, called "praise song for
oceania" can be found here: http://craigsantosperez.com/praise-song-oceania/

Lastly, I have found that creating a space of creative play at activist
events have been very fruitful. I have organized many poetry writing spaces
and creative writing workshops at different kinds of protest marches,
activist festivals, cultural events, and more for people to express
themselves. I have also hosted poetry reading and open mics at activist
events, teach-ins, etc. I believe making these kinds spaces are vital for
social justice movements to keep things playful (engaging, fun,
pleasurable, expressive, creative, etc).

I look forward to learning from everyone one.


Dr. Craig Santos Perez
Interim Director of Creative Writing
Associate Professor, English Department
Affiliate Faculty, Center for Pacific Islands Studies
& The Indigenous Politics Program
University of Hawai'i, Mānoa
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