literature

Chera Miller

A poet from the Texas Panhandle has brought home one of the most prestigious poetry awards in the American West.

Chera Hammons is the winner of the PEN Southwest Poetry Award for her book, The Traveler’s Guide to Bomb City. Judge Allison Adelle Hedge Coke called Hammons’s book an “astute take on life on the Southern Plains,” adding “we are the better for [this book] being here.”

So what does HPPR Radio Readers Book Club's 2018 Spring Read have in store? 

Here's more info about all four books! 

With Christmas fast approaching, you may still be searching for the perfect gift for the High Plains dwellers in your life. Don’t fret, this year marked the release of a number of great High-Plains histories that will make spectacular gifts. 

One release that got a good deal of attention this year was David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. Grann’s book, a riveting work of history that reads like a crime novel, details the murders of Osage Indians in 1920s Oklahoma after oil was discovered on their reservation.

chroniclebooks.com

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has named its annual “Book of the Year.” As the Farm Bureau’s website reports, this year’s award goes to Eugenie Doyle for her book, Sleep Tight Farm.

A new book takes readers on a fascinating journey into the heart of the Texas Panhandle. In Walking the Llano: A Texas Memoir of Place, Shelley Armitage invites readers to consider the unique character and geology of the Staked Plains. The book is a treasure of photographs, anecdotes, musings, philosophical wanderings, memories, and historical facts, all told through Armitage’s engaging and heartfelt prose.

Mike Groll / AP photo

Each US state has its own policies for what books are allowed in its prisons. But, according to quartz.com, Texas goes farther than most in censoring what inmates have access to.

jasonboyett.com

An Amarillo author has written two books aimed at introducing nationwide audiences to the world’s religions, using everyday language. Jason Boyett’s latest book, on the 12 major religions of the world, becomes available today.

Boyett grew up Southern Baptist, but in school he became fascinated with religions different from his own. He says his main goal with the new book was to be fair, and he sees the work as an effort to explain rather than convince. “Every religion has something from which we could learn,” Boyett added.

Mike Kepka / The San Francisco Chronicle

This month the US lost one of its great children’s authors. Joyce Carol Thomas rose to prominence through highlighting her experience as an African American in rural Oklahoma.

Thomas wrote books and poems for children and young adults that accented her heritage, work that eventually garnered he a National Book Award. She grew up working in Oklahoma cotton fields, and published her first book, Marked by Fire, in 1982.

Jonathan Baker

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk about Willa Cather’s My Antonia.

I have an addiction. I take photos constantly with my phone. Sometimes in West Texas, during a particularly epic sunset, I’ll instinctively start driving west, away from town, out where there are no buildings. Where the good views are.

Later, when I go back and look at my images, I often find I have no nostalgia for the day I snapped the photo of a particular sky. Because I was looking at my phone the whole time.

Philipp Meyer, acclaimed author of The Son and American Rust, will give a reading Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, on the campus of West Texas A&M University.

NewsOK

The 2016 Oklahoma Book Awards were held this weekend in Oklahoma City, reports News OK.

Winners included Bike on, Bear! by Cynthea Liu for Best Children’s Book and The Mercy of the Sky by Holly Bailey for Best Nonfiction Book. The Long And Faraway Gone by Lou Berney won the Fiction award, and Places I Was Dreaming by Loren Graham took home the Poetry prize.

Mysteries and Thrillers to Read by the Fire

Dec 31, 2015
Alice Popkorn / Flickr Creative Commons

As the snow falls and the nights grow colder, The Guardian has published a list of the year’s best crime novels and thrillers, perfect for curling up with and reading by the fire.

Poem: "How Far You Are From Me"

Nov 27, 2015
Creative Commons

From The Texas Observer: Eloísa Pérez-Lozano’s poem, ‘How Far You Are From Me.’

I’ve never had to swim through el río like you,
your clothes heavy with water and hope
as you wade carefully against the current.

I’ve never had to run like hell from la migra
Or have a sixth sense for avoiding trouble
Because even a whiff of it makes you sick.

Bless Your Hearts, Here's a Thanksgiving Poem

Nov 26, 2015
christmasman / Creative Commons

From The Poetry Foundation, a poem about a common High Plains saying.

Bless Their Hearts

By Richard Newman

At Steak 'n Shake I learned that if you add

“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say

whatever you want about them and it’s OK.

My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,

she said. He rents storage space for his kids’

Once upon a time when rain followed the plow

Jul 13, 2014
dailynebraskan.com

Once upon a time there was a myth that motivated pioneers to go west and settle the Great Plains.  Told that rain would follow the plow that they were “changing climate for the better”, these hardy souls broke up vast seas of sod working to make their farming Eden a reality.