New ‘CHamoru Legends’ book celebrates Guam’s storytelling tradition
The University of Guam Press will launch Guam’s latest legends publication, “CHamoru Legends: A Gathering of Stories” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Guam Museum. The book features 12 legends retold by Teresita “Terry” Perez with CHamoru translations by Maria Ana Tenorio Rivera.
“Since its revival four years ago, UOG Press has received countless requests for a new CHamoru legends publication,” said Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, managing editor of UOG Press. “With a Tourist Attraction Fund grant from the Guam Visitors Bureau, we embarked on a project to publish a collection of reimagined classic CHamoru legends with CHamoru translations and artwork from 12 talented local artists under our cultural imprint, Taiguini Books.”
Perez combed through the Micronesian Area Research Center’s archives to find previously published versions of CHamoru legends and gathered stories from family and friends to help inform her process. She selected 12 legends she wanted to retell and worked with Rivera and Leon Guerrero to draft her unique versions.
“After Terry wrote each piece, the three of us would sit together and talk about the story — what it meant to each of us, what the characters’ intentions may have been and why, what cultural values motivated the plot, what lessons were to be learned, why the story had been told the way it had been told for so long, and so forth,” Leon Guerrero said. “It was a beautiful, communal process that led to this presentation of the legends in a way that captures our unique culture and perspective and also highlights the voice and experiences of author Terry Perez, whose poetic prose adds new layers of meaning to these timeless tales.”
Recognizing the importance of telling cultural stories in the CHamoru language, UOG Press published the book so that it features the legends in English on one side and in CHamoru on the reverse side.
Like the book, the launch event will feature many interpretations of the legends. The artwork from the book will be on display, both Perez and Rivera will read selected legends, local chanting and dance groups will perform their versions of some of the legends in the book, and the audience will be invited to share legends they know, which will be recorded as part of an oral history project intended to collect legends for future volumes of the book. A reception with author and artist book signings and book sales will follow in the main lobby.
“CHamoru Legends: A Gathering of Stories” will be available for sale at the launch for $25 per book. After the launch, the book will also be sold at the UOG Triton Store, the Guam Museum gift shop, all Bestseller locations, Puntan Dos Amantes (Two Lovers Point) gift shop, other local bookstores, and online at www.uog.edu/uogpress and on Amazon.