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Undercurrent

Various Artists

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Innovative poetics from the Pacific

Through their work, Brandy Nālani McDougall (Hawai‘i) and Craig Santos Perez (Guahan) address issues of colonialism, militarism, and tourism in their home islands. Hawai’i was illegally annexed by the U.S. in 1898, and later became the 50th state. Guam was ceded to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War of 1898 and remains an unincorporated territory to this day. The U.S. military occupies and degrades massive amounts of land on Hawai’i and Guahan, and global tourism holds their economies hostage. Despite this traumatic history, both poets also fiercely celebrate their native cultures, stories, and languages—mapping their genealogies and honoring their ancestors. For them, poetry is the undercurrent of a shared struggle for a decolonized Pacific.

Undercurrent emerges as the essence of amplified poetry, now a form where the voice/text is the sole object of attention. Here amplified poetry arranges sound and voice the way concrete poetry arranges ink and image to reveal deeper layers of meaning in a poem’s words. Although some tracks may call to mind the polyphony of western musical counterpoint, the tracks are very much open works, each an opening or aperture to new vistas and possibilities.

This example of the continuing evolution of amplified poetry is the fourth such album by producers Richard Hamasaki and H. Doug Matsuoka.

Undercurrent
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