Texas Panhandle Poet Wins Prestigious Literary Prize

Jun 12, 2018

Credit 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.”

Hammons told HPPR that she’s “always felt a bit invisible on the Texas poetry scene because we [in the Panhandle] are so isolated here from the writing community in the rest of the state.”

She noted, when it comes to big awards, it’s “easy to forget about the Panhandle in places with thriving literary scenes like San Antonio and Austin.”

In celebration of the award, Hammons and her husband said they broke out a “bottle of Writer's Tears whiskey, which we only save for triumphs because if we were to drink it when we get rejections, the bottle would be empty in no time.”