from unincorporated territory [åmot]

Winner, National Book Awards 2023 for Poetry

ISBN 9781632431189
Omnidawn Publishing
Author photo of Craig Santos Perez. (Photo credit; Craig Santos Perez)
Craig Santos Perez

Craig Santos Perez is an indigenous Chamoru from Guam. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco and a PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

This book is the fifth collection in Craig Santos Perez’s ongoing from unincorporated territory series about the history of his homeland, the western Pacific island of Guåhan (Guam), and the culture of his indigenous Chamoru people. “Åmot” is the Chamoru word for “medicine,” commonly referring to medicinal plants. Traditional Chamoru healers were known as yo’åmte; they gathered åmot in the jungle and recited chants and invocations of taotao’mona, or ancestral spirits, in the healing process.

Through experimental and visual poetry, Perez explores how storytelling can become a symbolic form of åmot, offering healing from the traumas of colonialism, militarism, migration, environmental injustice, and the death of elders.

Judges Citation

The work of poetry as both praise and redress comes into intense realization in from unincorporated territory [åmot]. While tenderly elegizing family and homeland, Craig Santos Perez is also always aware of the forces—of colonialism, militarism, environmental destruction, and systemic sexual abuse—that devastate what is intimate and hallowed. Proudly polylingual, as lyrical as it is outraged, from unincorporated territory [åmot] is poetry as fierce medicine.


Craig Santos Perez accepts 2023 National Book Award, Poetry for from unincorporated territory [åmot]

Craig Santos Perez at the 2023 National Book Awards Finalist Reading