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  • Editor's Introduction
  • Craig Santos Perez

The first issue of Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing that I ever read was Vārua Tupu: New Writing from French Polynesia, published in 2005. I was a graduate student at the University of San Francisco, who was studying Pacific literature. At the time, Mānoa was one of the few publishing venues focused on work from this region. For me, finding Mānoa was a blessing. Vārua Tupu, as well as other Mānoa issues that highlighted work from New Zealand (1997), the Pacific Islands (1993), and Papua New Guinea (1990), deepened my understanding of this part of the world that is often marginalized or completely ignored by mainstream publishing. Of course, Mānoa is not limited to the Pacific. Within the sixty volumes and 10,000 pages produced since the founding of the journal in 1989, you can discover new writers from across Asia and the Americas as well. This international vision—sustained for decades—has made Mānoa one of the most important journals in the world.

This current issue marks a new season in the life of the journal. With the blessings of cofounding editor Frank Stewart and managing editor Pat Matsueda (both of whom retired in 2022), the journal will now be edited by other creative writing faculty in the English department at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. I volunteered to be the first to take on this immense honor and responsibility. As the new editor, my aim is to continue the mission and contribute to the rich legacy of this storied journal.

Let me briefly introduce myself: I have been a faculty member at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa since 2011, and I teach Pacific Islander literature, food writing, and eco-poetry. I have also been an editor for the past eighteen years. I cofounded Ala Press (an independent publisher dedicated to Pacific literature) and edited multiple literary journals, and six full-length anthologies. I have had the pleasure of working with the University of Hawai'i Press for several years as the editor of their New Oceania Literary Series.

As you can see from the cover of this anthology, my first issue focuses on CHamoru voices from the Mariana Islands. I chose this ethnic group and region not only because they have not been covered by Mānoa in the past, but also because of my own genealogical and geographical connections. [End Page v] CHamorus are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana archipelago, comprised of fifteen inhabited and uninhabited islands in the northwestern Pacific region known as Micronesia. I was born and raised on the largest, southernmost, and most populated island of this archipelago: Guåhan (Guam), which has been an "unincorporated territory" of the United States since 1898. The northern islands form a single political entity: a "commonwealth" of the United States (known as the "Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands"). At different points in history during the past 500 years, our archipelago had also been colonized by Spain, Germany, and Japan. CHamorus are American citizens, and since the 1950s, we have migrated away from our islands and settled throughout all fifty states.

This anthology highlights an intergenerational selection of emerging, mid-career, and established CHamoru authors, including an extended feature on Peter R. Onedera, who is considered a "master storyteller" by the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency. Within these pages, you will find diverse genres, including poetry, chant, fiction, creative nonfiction, and playwriting. The pieces are composed predominantly in English; however, the opening chant is in the CHamoru language (with translation by the author), other pieces are multilingual, and one poem is composed in CHamoru creole English. The themes range from genealogy to identity, colonialism to cultural revitalization, ecological connection to environmental injustice, love to sexual abuse, and belonging to diaspora. Overall, I hope this anthology will introduce readers to the Mariana archipelago and the vibrancy of CHamoru literature, culture, histories, migrations, politics, memories, traumas, and dreams. [End Page vi]

Craig Santos Perez
Honolulu, Hawai'i
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