Texas Tech University

English Department Graduate Student Wins Award for First Book

Glenys Young

April 22, 2015

“The Tulip-Flame” contains several poems written at Texas Tech University.


Texas Tech University graduate student Chloe Honum has been awarded the 2015 Bob Bush Memorial Award For First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters.

After submitting three copies of her poetry book “The Tulip-Flame” in October, Honum waited six months before learning of the recognition.

“I was thrilled, thrilled and honored,” Honum said of the award, which comes with a $1,000 prize.

Each year the Texas Institute of Letters awards more than $20,000 to recognize outstanding literary works in 12 categories:

  • Best work of fiction
  • Best work of first fiction
  • Best book of non-fiction
  • Most significant scholarly book
  • Best book of poetry
  • First book of poetry
  • Short non-fiction
  • Best short story
  • Best children's picture book
  • Best children's book
  • Best young adults book
  • Best design of a trade book

To be eligible for awards, an entrant must be born in Texas or have lived in Texas for at least two consecutive years at some time. A work whose subject matter substantially concerns Texas also is eligible.

“It was wonderful to be included on a list with so many brilliant Texas authors,” Honum said. “It's especially nice because many of the poems in the book were written under that big Texas sky.”

Honum is spending this semester in Massachusetts, but she has been enrolled at Texas Tech since fall 2011, working toward her doctorate in English and creative writing. She credits faculty support in the Texas Tech Department of English for her success.

“Chloe is a highly esteemed young poet we were lucky to grab because we had a generous grant that year from the Helen DeVitt Jones Foundation to recruit the best graduate students in the nation,” said John Poch, director of the creative writing program in the Department of English. “Fortunately, she came to work with us, and we knew she would do great things, and we know even more is on the horizon.”  

Honum was born in Santa Monica, California, and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry, The Paris Review and The Southern Review. She has been anthologized in Best New Poets 2008 and 2010.

“The Tulip-Flame” was published April 8, 2014, by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. It won the 2013 Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize.