VIDA Reads with Writers – Craig Santos Perez!

What are you reading on the subway or in the waiting room today?

I live in Hawaiʻi so the book I am reading on the beach is Her Animals (Hummingbird Press 2015), by poet and environmental activist Emily Johnston. This is a sincere, beautiful and profound book of eco-poetry. The book itself is a treasure to hold as it was made and printed sustainably.

What book popped for you in 2015?

So many, but two I will mention here: Jennifer Tamayo’s You Da One (2014) is fierce, intelligent, and innovative. Cathy Linh Che’s Split (2014) is moving, lyrical, and honest. Two rising stars in the poetry world and must reads for anyone interested in ethnic poetry.

Whose words do you return to regularly?

Joy Harjo, always. Her new book, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (2015) is music and medicine.

Is there an author you can’t wait to read next?

I hear Monica Sok has a book forthcoming, which I am excited to read after having enjoyed her poetry and nonfiction online.

I am also excited to read Camille Rankine’s new book, Incorrect Merciful Impulses (2016) (as a Pacific Islander poet, I feel many connections and affinities with Caribbean poets).

What are you working on now? What can VIDA fans look forward to from you next?

I am working on the fourth book in my trans-book series, from unincorporated territory. And I am working on my second spoken word digital poetry album in collaboration with Hawaiian poet Brandy Nālani McDougall. Links to my previous books and album can be found here.


b6fb509d-57e5-4429-b111-d02856222f06CRAIG SANTOS PEREZ is a native Chamorro from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the co-editor of two anthologies of Pacific literature, co-founder of Ala Press, co-star of the spoken word poetry album, Undercurrent, and author of three books: most recently, from unincorporated territory [guma’] (Omnidawn, 2014), which received an American Book Award in 2015. He is an associate professor in the English department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa.