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

Craig Perez csperez at hawaii.edu
Thu Oct 24 06:22:22 AEDT 2019

Thanks so much, Margaret!

Yes, playing with the space of the page is an important part of my poetry.
Iʻve written before about articulating an "oceanic poetics" in which I see
words as islands, sentences as archipelagoes, and the space as oceanic with
rhythmic currents and unseen depths of meaning. I write more about this

I also think about the page as a kind of mapping. In the Pacific, as
elsewhere, there's a long history of colonial mappings that reduce our
islands & ocean to territorialized spaces. So in my work I try to play
(subvert, re-imagine, de-territorialize) colonial maps.

Yes, I also work as an editor & publisher. I have co-edited four
anthologies of Pacific islander literature and I co-founded Ala Press, the
only press in the US dedicated to Pacific literature (we have published
around 10 books thus far). It's nice to think of this labor as creating a
space (anthology or collection) for other voices to gather and inter-play.
For those interested, here is the press: www.alapress.org and here is one
anthology that I co-edited that just came out this year:


On Wed, Oct 23, 2019 at 6:12 AM Margaret Rhee <mrheeloy at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you Craig for your message, and for participating. Such a honor to
> engage with your work and continue the thread on poetry, activism, and
> decolonial play. I've always been moved by your collaborative work across
> mediums such as poem-videos and visual art, and your work on the page in
> your collections too. I've inserted an excerpt from your first collection
> from unincorporated territory [hatcha] that to me, exemplifies the play on
> the page, that is all at once decolonial and experimental in terms of the
> visual.
> It's incredible to think of land, the ocean, and the poem in this way. It
> certainly reminds me of Maria's play with poetry and of Jerry's work on
> environments too. I wonder if you can speak more to your work in the visual
> and when thinking about oceans, land, environments, and poetics?
> I've also been moved in your collaborations as a publisher of Pacific and
> POC poetry in your practice. I wonder if you can speak more to this work of
> fostering Pacific poetry, and social justice movements through poetry
> readings and publishing as an activist practice? Always moved by your
> interventions, and excited to hear from others for this week.
> warmly,
> Margaret
> ---
> "The Page Transformed" Interview with Craig Santos Perez:
> http://www.lanternreview.com/blog/2010/03/12/the-page-transformed-a-conversation-with-craig-santos-perez/
> [image: image.png]
> On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 12:36 PM Craig Perez <csperez at hawaii.edu> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> 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.
>> Cheers,
>> Craig
>> --
>> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> --
> Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.
> College Fellow in Digital Practice (2018 - 2019)
> Department of English
> Harvard University
> Assistant Professor in Media Theory (2019)
> Department of Media Study
> SUNY Buffalo

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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