Sundress Publications announces the release of Chera Hammons’ Maps of Injury. An unwavering study of the body and earth moved by pain, sorrow, and hope, these poems offer new ways of knowing the intricacies of our interwoven lives and the tender beliefs that keep us going.
Chera Hammons charts a cartographical understanding of the body—one marked with illness, change, and the bone-deep need to survive. Here, hope and sorrow weave between the grasses of the Texas Panhandle, a hard place “where the land is flat and tough and everything is against us.” Yet, memory roots itself firmly, urging us forward because “what we fear may not come to pass.”
Hammons writes with an honest tenor that sits in the throat, guiding us to the places where our hands—and lives—extend beyond our grasps. There is a grace here as wide as a summer sky, a forgiveness that carries you, even when your body cannot. These verses sing through the difficulty of life, making sure “each day leave[s] its own bruise” along the spine of our collected histories.
Sandy Longhorn, author of The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, says Maps of Injury “offers a steady wisdom born from a body and a land under siege. As the speaker confronts chronic illness and the land of the Texas panhandle weathers drought, we are assured that ‘Someone will always teach us how to grieve.’ And these poems do just that with subtle beauty and stunning revelations. Hammons’ lyric narratives sing in the face of difficult times and remind us to ‘let the dangerous world in.’”
Chera Hammons is West Texas A&M University’s Writer-in-Residence. Work appears or is forthcoming in publications such as Beloit Poetry Journal, Foundry, The Penn Review, Ruminate, The Sun, The Texas Observer, and Tupelo Quarterly. She is a winner of the PEN Southwest Book Award. Maps of Injury is her fourth book of poetry. A novel is forthcoming through Torrey House Press.