Skip to content

If you borrow this book, you have to return it: Craig Santos Perez.

March 8, 2011 \pm\31 12:00 pm

[For this series, I’ve asked many wondrous writers to reflect on an individual copy of a book that is very important to them. Writers and publishers have varied and often impassioned relationships to their analog books, as actual books are still arguably the “realest” physical manifestation of their poetic pursuits. I think that as the Kindle and other digital representations of text continue their upward spiral, it’s important to reflect on books as the uniquely funky-smelling, emotion-provoking, paper-cutting, dust/coffee/spaghetti sauce-collecting artifacts that they are! Check back next week for more top picks!]

Craig Santos Perez, a native Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guahan (Guam), is the co-founder of Achiote Press ( and author of the poetry book from unincorporated territory [hacha] (Tinfish Press, 2008). He received an MFA from the University of San Francisco and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He blogs at

Let’s see on my beachshelf are two books I adore: Hinemoana Baker’s matuhi / needle (2004) and koiwi koiwi / bone bone (2010).

According to her Bio, Hinemoana is a New Zealand based writer/musician/sound-artist of Maori ancestry who lives on Wellington’s Kapiti Coast.

Her first book, matuhi / needle, is a beautiful hardbound published by Victoria University Press in collaboration with Perceval Press in 2004. The striking cover, by Ngai Tahu artist Jenny Rendall, brings the viewer in with its deep red coloring and unexpected geometry. Full color paintings by Rendall’s are interspersed throughout the book as well. Matuhi / needle really feels more like an art book as even the interior pages are thick and glossy. As if that wasn’t enough, it also includes a CD of Hinemoana performing some of the poems in the book. I heart this weaving of visual art, text, and sound/music.

In 2010, Victoria University Press published Hinemoana’s second book, koiwi koiwi / bone bone. The cover image is made from various materials: doll fragments, thread, nails, etc. arranged to spell out the title (the cover artwork and design was done by Arana Horncy). On the backcover, all the objects are deconstructed, piled atop each other. I’ve been flipping the book over and over to see if the bone objects will arrange and re-arrange in different ways.

Of course, the real pleasures for me are the poems themselves. You can check out Hinemoana’s website here:

One Comment
  1. Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
    March 10, 2011 \am\31 9:38 am 9:38 am

    This looks gorgeous. I have a weak spot for books that combine poetry and art, and this has sound too. Methinks I’ll have to check this out.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: