Craig Santos Perez
Craig is an indigenous Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is a poet, scholar, editor, publisher, essayist, critic, book reviewer, artist, environmentalist, and political activist.
Employment & Education#
Craig is as an Associate 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 of Pacific Islands Studies and the Indigenous Politics Program, and he is Chair of the Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander Board in the Office of General Education. He was the Director of the Creative Program from 2014-2016, and 2019-2020. He was a faculty member for Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA, 2018), Kundiman Writers Retreat (2019), and Mokulēʻia Writers Retreat (2019). He earned a B.A. from the University of Redlands (2002), an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco (2006), and an MA (2009) and Ph.D. (2015) in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Craig is the author of two spoken word poetry albums, Undercurrent(2011) and Crosscurrent(2017), and five books of poetry: from unincorporated territory hacha, from unincorporated territory saina, from unincorporated territory guma’, from unincorporated territory lukao, and Habitat Threshold(2020). His scholarly monograph, Wayreading Chamorro Literature from Guam: Indigeneity, Decolonization, and Aesthetics, is under contract with the Indigenous Studies Series at the University of Arizona Press. His critical essays have been published in national and international peer-reviewed academic journals and anthologies, including Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies, Ecopoetics and the Global Landscape: Critical Essays, The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literatures, Border Crossings: Essays in Identity and Belonging, Archipelagic American Studies, Amerasia Journal, English Language Notes, American Quarterly, and Postcolonial Literature and Climate Change.
Editing & Service#
He is the co-founder of Ala Press (the only publisher in the US dedicated to Pacific literature) and the co-editor of five anthologies of Pacific literature and eco-literature:Chamoru Childhood(2008), Home(is)lands: New Art and Writing from Guahan and Hawaiʻi(2018), Effigies III: Indigenous Pacific Islander Poetry(2019), Indigenous Literatures from Micronesia(2019), and Geopoetics in Practice(2020). He serves on the editorial boards of Sun Tracks, an indigenous literature series with the University of Arizona Press, and The Contemporary Pacific, an academic journal of Pacific Islands Studies published by the University of Hawaiʻi Press. In 2018, Craig became the series editor for the New Oceania Literary Serieswith the University of Hawaiʻi Press. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Pacific Islanders in Communication, which focuses on Pacific film and television. At the University of Hawaiʻi, he co-curates the Native Voices Reading and Lecture Series, the Chamorro Studies Speaker Series, and the New Oceania Literary Series. He is a participating scholar for the Humanities for the Environment Asia-Pacific Observatory.
Awards and Praise#
Craig has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2010) and the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry (2019), and he has received the Pen Center USA/Poetry Society of America Literary Prize (2011), the American Book Award (2015), the Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2016), and the Hawai’i Literary Arts Council Elliot Cades Literary Award (2017), the most prestigious literary prize in Hawaiʻi. He received a Ford Foundation Fellowship for his scholarly research (2009-2011). In 2016, he received the University of Hawaiʻi Chancellors’ Citation for Meritorious Teaching. His work has been featured in BBC Cultural Frontline, CNBC, The Atlantic, Slate, The New Republic, Vice, The Guardian, The World Meteorological Organization, The Honolulu Star Advertiser, Honolulu Magazine, The Pacific Daily News, and The Guam Daily Post. He has performed his environmental poetry at the 350.org Honolulu Climate March, The IUCN World Conservation Congress, the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance conference, and the International Conference on Environmental Futures.
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.”