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Featured Student: Jesi Lujan Bennett

Nov 5, 2013 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Profiles

Jesi_Lujan_BennettJESI LUJAN BENNETT is a PhD student in American Studies at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) at Mānoa. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a BA in Ethnic Studies and a BA in Critical Gender Studies. At UCSD, Jesi discussed the militarism and proposed military build-up of Guam through the Ethnic Studies Honors Program and McNair Scholar Program. Jesi then graduated with her MA from the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at UH Mānoa. Her thesis brings a voice from the Chamorro diaspora to the larger discourse of Pacific Islands Studies.

Jesi is a Chamorro woman from San Diego, California but has family ties to Dededo and Barrigada, Guam. She is president of the Marianas Club at UHM and an active participant in Micronesian Connections and Oceania Rising. Jesi also works as an advisor for San Diego’s Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHEʻLU).

 

Craig Santos Perez

Mar 25, 2013 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Profiles, Uncategorized

Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamorro originally from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). In 1995, his family migrated to California, where he lived for fifteen years before moving to Hawai’i.

Craig is the author of two books of poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (Tinfish Press, 2008) and  from unincorporated territory [saina] (Omnidawn Publishing, 2010), a finalist for the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry and the winner of the PEN Center USA 2011 Literary Prize for Poetry.  Both his books have been praised in reviews, studied in scholarly essays, and taught in high schools and universities across the Pacific, the U.S., and Europe.

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.”

His poetry, essays, fiction, reviews, and translations have been published in over a hundred national and international scholarly and literary journals and anthologies. In 2011, his first audio poetry album,  Undercurrent, was recorded with Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) poet Brandy Nalani McDougall and produced by record label Hawai’i Dub Machine.

Craig_Santos_Perez

He has also received the Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange Award (2010), the Emily Chamberlain Cook Poetry Prize (2009), and the Jean Burden Poetry Award (2001).

Since 2005, Craig has worked in various editorial capacities. He co-founded a chapbook publisher, edited the blog for Omnidawn Publishing, guest edited several “special issues” on Chamoru literature, and co-edied the anthology Chamoru Childhood (2009). In 2011, he also co-founded (with Brandy Nalani McDougall) Ala Press, an independent press dedicated to Pacific literature.

He earned a B.A. in Art History & Literature from the Johnston Center of Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands (2002) and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco (2006). He is finishing his Ph.D.  in Comparative Ethnic Studies at University of California, Berkeley. He received support from a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship and a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship.

Craig has performed his poetry on various stages across the Pacific, the U.S, and even St. Petersburg, Russia. He has also given guest lectures at various institutions, presented at academic and literary conferences, and visited high school and university classes to speak about his poetry, activism, research, and scholarship, or on issues such as poetics, publishing, Pacific studies, indigenous literatures, militarization, tourism, colonialism, decolonization, migration, and diaspora.

Additionally, Craig has curated many literary readings over the years. Currently, he co-curates Native Voices: A Reading and Lecture Series at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

In the Fall of 2011, Craig was hired as an Assistant Professor in the English Department of the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, where he teaches Pacific Literature and Creative Writing. You can link to his faculty page here. Or you can connect with him on Facebook.