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Shelley Armitage

Shelley Armitage

HPPR Radio Readers Book Club Contributor

Shelley Armitage grew up in the small ranching and farming community of Vega, Texas, in Oldham County in the northwest Texas Panhandle. She still owns and operates the family farm inherited from her parents. Most of her adult life has been spent away from the Panhandle as a university professor in Texas, New Mexico, and Hawai’i, but Armitage always has returned to the “farm”—mainly in summers—which offered until recently a 360 degree view of earth and sky. Witnessing the natural world and its changes remains for her a centering and care-giving activity.

Author of eight books and over fifty articles and essays, she has held a Fulbright Chair in Warsaw, a Distinguished Senior Professorship in Cincinnati, and the Dorrance Roderick Professorship in El Paso, as well as National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, and Rockefeller grants. She is professor emerita at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her scholarship and writing focus on the arts, popular culture, gender studies, biography, nonfiction, and poetry.

Even as the heartland remains in the Panhandle, the compass foot reaches out. She spends part of each year in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


  • Hello, this is Shelley Armitage for Radio Readers Book Club --We used to talk to animals, didn’t we? No, I don’t mean the family dog and cat. I mean bears, cougars, ravens, eagles. And they talked to us. But something happened when we began to see them as fair sport, trophies, fit for feed yards or timeable milking machines.
  • I’m Shelley Armitage from Vega, Texas sharing Radio Readers Book Bytes with you today. I’ve been thinking lately about how poetry can be like a prayer. Inspired by a piece by Richard Osler, I like how he describes the poem as coming from a mysterious other inside him, that the poem writes us not the other way around.
  • This is Shelley Armitage for Radio Readers Book Bytes wishing you a good day. Writing my memoir, Walking the Llano about life along the Middle Alamosa Creek in the western Panhandle, I thought often about what Leslie Marmon Silko says about landscape. Landscape is not something “out there,” but we are a part of the very boulders we stand on, she says.
  • What happens when an accomplished poet turns memoirist? And when that memoir is about the legacy of suicide? Eloquent yet piercingly insightful describes Juliet Patterson’s latest book, Sinkhole: A Legacy of Suicide, a lyrical and elegiac work exploring the landscape of grief, loneliness, and redemption.
  • Hello, I’m Shelley Armitage bringing you a special Radio Readers BookByte in celebration of National Poetry Month. In honoring poetry this month and as a poet myself, I want to share this little piece I wrote. It’s called “What’s in a Title?” and refers to my forthcoming poetry collection entitled A Habit of Landscape.