a final hafa adai from guahan & a farewell
so i left off on the big night of my public reading/fundraiser. the event was held at a 'chamorro fusion' restuarant called meskla. the humanities council rented out the entire place...and there were about 100 people in attendance, including my grandmother, my godparents, and many aunts and uncles and cousins whom i havent seen in years!
folks ate and drank and then i read a 40 minute set--work from my second book and new work. after, there was a q&a. after the q&a, senator tina muna barnes from the guam legislature presented me with a resolution! i'm not even kidding. the resolution is quite long, but it in part reads...
Relative to recognizing and commending the achievements of Craig Santos Perez 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.
RESOLVED, that the Committee of Rules of I Mina’ Trenta Na Lihelslaturan Guåhan, does hereby honor and commend Craig Santos Perez for his meritorious ability to eloquently convey his thoughts, feelings and spirit through his writings, thereby bringing national recognition to both his work and his island home; and be it further
after the reading, i signed many books and chatted with all the relatives. my grandmother even stayed at the restuarant hanging out until 11 pm! it was a blessed event.
the next morning, i had to wake up early to speak to two classes at okkodu high school--the first chamoru history class and the second was an honors english class. here's the history class discussing my poem:
during the week, i visited all the public high schools except for one. we engaged with about 300-350 highschool students and another 100 college students. my final event event for the week was a creative writing workshop at the university of guam. i was really looking forward to facilitating this workshop and seeing what the young college students were up to in terms of their poetry. unfortunately, i forgot to take a picture of the workshop...but needless to say i was thoroughly impressed and excited about the next generation of writers in guahan.
that night, i celebrated with the folks at the humanities council with lots o'margaritas. here's kim, cathy, and monaeka:
my final poetry event for the trip was the next night at the university of guam. the spoken word group on guam--sinangan'ta--does various outreach programs and one of their current projects is to put a team together for the Brave New Voices poetry slam. this year, they've been having slams to determine the final team of 3. i attended their last semi-final round before the final slam next month. it was great to hear the youth do their thing:
the organizers were kind enough to have me read as one of the half-time feature poets--so i read some new poems...i am thankful though that the judges did not score my performance! haha. after the event, one of the sinanganta mentors--john norman sarmiento (an amazing poet)--talking to the twelve finalists:
since then, i've been busy sightseeing and visiting with family. it's been a whirlwind trip. and i will be writing about it more in the coming month at my own blog (which i hope you will subscribe to/visit here).
i leave the homeland on saturday and have a few days rest in california before heading out to denver for AWP. come visit me if you are at AWP--i will be at the Omnidawn Publishing table...and i am presenting at one panel (called 'hybrid aesthetics and its discontents': Friday, April 9, 9-10:15 a.m., 201-CCC...featuring michael theune, arielle greenberg, mark wallace, and megan volpert).
it's been so great blogging here at harriet! thanks to all the commenters for your engaging/lively discussion, thanks to all the readers out there, and thanks to the fellow bloggers who survived this crazy ride! it's been great sharing my thoughts and my travels with all of you. a special thanks to travis ('the pound scholar') for all his support!
Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan/Guam. He is the co-founder of Ala Press, co-star of the poetry album Undercurrent (Hawai’i Dub Machine, 2011), and author of three collections of poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (Tinfish Press, 2008), from unincorporated territory [saina](Omnidawn, 2010),...