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An Oceanic 'We': Poetry, Solidarity, and Multispecies Justice in the Pacific

In this hybrid talk and poetry reading, I will discuss and share some of my poetry related to articulating an “oceanic we.” I will define an “oceanic we” as a network of people, places, animals, objects, and elements gathered into an interconnected, intergenerational, multicultural, and multispecies kinship ecology. This assemblage is rooted in Pacific Islander cultural wisdom, practices, and stories. Using examples from my own poetry, I will show how literature can express the complex entanglements of an “oceanic we.” Furthermore, I will share examples from other poets, specifically drawing work from a new anthology that I co-edited, Indigenous Pacific Islander Eco-Literatures (2022).

Dr Craig Santos Perez is a CHamoru scholar, poet and activist from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is a Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, where he teaches creative writing, eco-poetry, and Pacific literature. He is affiliate faculty with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the Indigenous Politics Program, and he was the Director of the Creative Program (2014-2016 and 2019-2020) and the Chair of the Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander Board in the Office of General Education (2019-2020). Among other positions, Craig serves on the Board of Directors for Pacific Islanders in Communication (2019-) and for Indigenous Nations Poets (2021-). He also co-curated the Native Voices Reading and Lecture Series, the Chamorro Studies Speaker Series, and the New Oceania Literary Series.

Craig is the author of two spoken word poetry albums, Undercurrent (2011) and Crosscurrent (2017), as well as six books of poetry, including his two latest collections, Habitat Threshold (2020) and from unincorporated territory [åmot] (2023). His work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, German, and Spanish. His monograph, Navigating CHamoru Poetry: Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization (2022) received the MLA Prize in Native American Literature, Cultures, and Languages (2022).

In 2010, the Guam Legislature passed Resolution No. 315-30, recognizing and commending Craig “as an accomplished poet who has been a phenomenal ambassador for our island, eloquently conveying through his words, the beauty and love that is the Chamorro culture.”

Craig worked as co-founder of Ala Press from 2010-2022 and is the co-editor of six anthologies of Pacific and eco-literature. He serves on the editorial boards of Sun Tracks and The Contemporary Pacific. In 2018, Craig became the series editor for the New Oceania Literary Series with the University of Hawaiʻi Press.



This lecture takes place on June 15th, 2023 at 10:00 CET



This will be an online lecture, on Zoom.