Craig Santos Perez to represent Guam at Poetry Parnassus

Craig Santos Perez (author of from unincorporated territory [saina], Omnidawn 2010) has been chosen to represent his Pacific home island of Guåhan (Guam) at Poetry Parnassus, a weeklong festival that will take place during the London 2012 Olympics.

This event, sponsored by London’s Southbank Centre, will feature a poet from each of the 204 competing Olympic countries, including Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney (Ireland) and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria) and former poet laureate Kay Ryan (USA), among others.

Craig has also written a brief reflection on the event and his participation over at the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet blog:

Even though my homeland of Guam is a colony of the United States, Guam received International Olympic Committee recognition in 1987 and competed the following year in Seoul, Korea, and in every Olympics since then.

For the Telegraph’s London 2012 Olympic Games coverage, they created a webpage for every competing country. These pages highlight the countries’ medal history, star performers, national anthem, and general facts. Some of the pages also include “The country’s history in six words.” Guam’s history reads: “Tug-of-war; unauthorised US helipad.”

Guam became a territory of the U.S. as a result of the Spanish American War of 1898. Since then, my home island has become one of the most militarized places in the world and remains on the United Nations list of 16 non-self governing territories.

The United States has won 2291 medals since it first participated in the 1896 Olympics. Guam has never won an Olympic medal.

During the upcoming London 2012 Olympics, the Southbank Center is organizing Poetry Parnassus, a weeklong series of events that will feature poets from each of the 204 competing Olympic countries. This event harkens back to the poetry events of the ancient Olympics in Greece (see the Guardian article, “Poetry Parnassus to gather poets from every Olympic nation”).

I feel honored and humbled to have been nominated and chosen by the organizers to represent Guam at this Cultural Olympiad event.

To read the full article, click here.

For more information about Poetry Parnassus, including specific events and ticketing information, click here.

To read more about Poetry Parnassus, and to help nominate poets to represent other countries, click here.