2023 Winner of the National Book Award for Poetry
by Craig Santos Perez
Winner of the National Book Award for Poetry, this collection of experimental and visual poems dives into the history and culture of the poet's homeland, Guam.
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.
The National Book Award is awarded by the National Book Foundation. Categories include Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Young People's Literature, Translated Literature, and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.