Craig Santos Perez celebrated his book release at University Press Books in Berkeley two nights ago. I attended the reading but failed to ask any questions during the Q & A section. I tend to be reticent in those situations. (I did manage to say this dumb comment, “Hey Craig, you know what poets call royalty checks? Reality checks.) So I hope you don’t mind if I list my questions here.

If, as Whitman says, “the United States is the greatest poem ever written” (See Linh Dinh’s post below.), it is a poem that has been continually rewritten and revised. I’m thinking of Langston Hughes and his engagement with Whitman. There are also examples in the Chicano tradition; “Stupid America” by Lalo Delgado is one. How is your poetic project engaged with this tradition of “singing” America? After all, one of your poems reminds us that America’s Day begins in Guahån.
You mentioned that you align yourself with the more experimental line of Pacific Islander poetry. Could you discuss how the Chamoru experience and the struggle for sovereignty influence or relate to the experimental aspect of your poetics?
from Unincorporated Territory is supposed to be a 12 book project. Why 12? Because: “When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with their fragments . . .” (John 6:12-13). This first book is [Hacha] or “one. “ Could you teach us how to count to twelve in your native Chamorro?
Who put the "terror" in "territorium"?

Originally Published: October 3rd, 2008

Javier O. Huerta's debut collection Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007) received the 31st Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine. He is also the author of American Copia (2012). A graduate of the Bilingual MFA Program at UT El Paso, Huerta is currently a PhD student in the...

  1. October 4, 2008

    I'm in the middle of this book right now. It's a good book. I'm not sure how to describe it yet, but it's a good book.