Navigating CHamoru Poetry

Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization

Paperback ($35.00), Hardcover ($100.00), Ebook ($35.00) Buy
Navigating CHamoru Poetry focuses on Indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) poetry from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). Poet and scholar Craig Santos Perez brings critical attention to a diverse and intergenerational collection of CHamoru poetry and scholarship. Throughout this book, Perez develops an Indigenous literary methodology called “wayreading” to navigate the complex relationship between CHamoru poetry, cultural identity, decolonial politics, diasporic migrations, and Native aesthetics. Perez argues that contemporary CHamoru poetry articulates new and innovative forms of indigeneity rooted in CHamoru customary arts and values, while also routed through the profound and traumatic histories of missionization, colonialism, militarism, and ecological imperialism.

This book shows that CHamoru poetry has been an inspiring and empowering act of protest, resistance, and testimony in the decolonization, demilitarization, and environmental justice movements of Guåhan. Perez roots his intersectional cultural and literary analyses within the fields of CHamoru studies, Pacific Islands studies, Native American studies, and decolonial studies, using his research to assert that new CHamoru literature has been—and continues to be—a crucial vessel for expressing the continuities and resilience of CHamoru identities. This book is a vital contribution that introduces local, national, and international readers and scholars to contemporary CHamoru poetry and poetics.
“This book takes the reader on a transoceanic journey, ranging from Guåhan to the heart of the American empire and to the many seas that the poets of the CHamoru diaspora have sailed. Weaving together groundbreaking archival research, subtle literary analysis, and decolonial Indigenous methodologies, Craig Santos Perez demonstrates how CHamoru poets have transformed their experience of cultural colonialism into weapons of resistance. A must-read for everyone invested in fighting for decolonization, demilitarization, and Indigenous sovereignty.”—Anaïs Maurer, author of Oceania First: Climate Warriors and Post-Apocalyptic Nuclear Stories

“As the first book-length study of CHamoru poetry, this is an essential resource for any student, scholar or general reader wishing to understand the formal properties of CHamoru literature, as well as the cultural and historical circumstances underpinning it. Craig Santos Perez is himself an internationally renowned CHamoru poet and offers valuable insights into a wealth of material by contemporary CHamoru authors, situating their work within centuries-long aesthetic and cultural traditions.”—Michelle Keown, co-editor of Anglo-American Imperialism and the Pacific: Discourses of Encounter

“Perez contributes arguably among the most comprehensive and deep analyses of CHamoru indigeneity, aesthetics, and decolonization, building on the genealogy of CHamoru literature and synthesizing multiple genres and generations of CHamoru literature. This groundbreaking work moves CHamoru articulations beyond the established discourse of political status and self-determination into a rising CHamoru renaissance, creatively and dynamically triangulating multiple discourses of indigeneity, historiography, cultural identity, and decolonization, in the spirit of perpetuating CHamoru indigeneity.”—Michael P. Perez, American Indian Culture and Research Journal


For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.



The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with readers, booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Join our email Newsletter. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.


Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.