Words On A Wire

Sundays at 12 noon

Words on a Wire is a show about fiction, poetry, the writing community, the publishing world and whatever other issues concern literary writers and readers of books. Hosted by two active writers, each show will include an interview with an established or emerging writer who has a new book, from famous award-winning veterans to hot young writers with books to watch out for.

On “Poem of the Week” we will read a poem from a collection we love or talk about a new book we have just discovered, or sometimes re-discovered. We also have a segment called “Poetic License” which is our way of giving writers their say. We hand over to writers we admire a few minutes to talk about whatever they want.

  Host Daniel Chacón reflects on the remarkable abilities of our brain to continue to develop throughout our lives.  Then he talks about the squirt fish, whose brain gradually gets eaten away once it has settled on a permanent home.  The squirt fish serves as an important metaphor as to why we must keep our imaginations active...or else we may eat our own brains like the squirt fish!

Aired May 29, 2016

adelanajarro.com

  Adela Najarro is the author of 2 poetry collections - "Split Geography" and "Twice Told Over."  She is also an English instructor at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California.  She joins us on this program to tell us how she stays active as a Latina poet while she balances a career as an educator and a writer.   Najarro explains that her coursework parallels what she is interested in at the moment, whether it's advancing Latino students' educational opportunities or advocating for social justice.   http://www.adelanajarro.com/

Najarro shares a poem from her collection "Split Geography" - Chicanos in a Museum.

Aired May 29, 2016

  Kate Schatz is a writer, educator, and feminist, and she joins us on this program to tell us about "Rad American Women A-Z," an alphabet book for children and for everyone.  Women of color and lesser-known revolutionary scientists, musicians, and activists are highlighted in the book, including Rachel Carson, Odetta, and Angela Davis.   http://radamericanwomen.com/

Aired May 22, 2016

  Andrea Cote-Boter is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  A native of Colombia, she is an award winning poet, having been awarded the National Prize of Poetry from the Universidad Externado of Colombia (2003), and the Puentes de Struga International Poetry Prize (2005) for her debut collection, Puerto Calcinado, Cosas Frájiles y Chinatown a toda hora.  Her latest collection is called La Ruina que Nombro.  Cote-Botero's works have been translated into 7 languages, and on this program, she talks about why the Italian translation is her favorite, and about how her upbringing in a violent region in Colombia inspired her writing.

Aired May 14, 2016

  J. Mae Barizo is the author of the poetry collection "The Cumulus Effect."  J. Mae is not only a poet but a classically-trained musician.  She explains how musical elements apply to her minimalist style of poetry, and she talks about her sound-text performances which meld words and music.  http://www.jmaebarizo.com/

A recent New York Times article took us into Barizo's kitchen.  Read it here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/dining/the-changing-face-of-j-mae-barizos-kitchen.html?_r=0

Aired May 8, 2016

  Carlos Nicolás Flores is the author of "Sex as a Political Condition: A Border Novel."  He joins us to talk about how the idea for the book first set seed during his time at the University of Texas at El Paso two decades ago.  After a visit to Cuba in 2000 as part of a writers' exchange, Flores revisited those ideas into an award-winning early draft.  The book is published as part of Texas Tech University Press's Americas Series, and Flores explains why this publisher took a risk in releasing this book which touches upon some controversial themes.

http://www.carlos-flores.com/

Aired May 1, 2016

  The Rio Grande Review is a nonprofit bilingual publication run by students of the MFA in Creative Writing at UTEP.  Mijail Lamas is the editor and chief of the latest edition, and Daniela Ruelas is the junior editor.  In this bilingual interview (Mijail answers the questions in Spanish), we'll find out how the publication has changed in the past several years, and why the current issue is the most accessible in terms of design.  Contributions to the Rio Grande Review come from within the Creative Department and from poets & writers from around the world.  

You can submit your works of fiction and/or poetry for a future edition of the Rio Grande Review by sending a Word document to rgreditors@gmail.com along with a short bio.  

Aired May 1, 2016

  Ada Limón is the author of the poetry collection "Bright Dead Things," which was a finalist for the National Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  She calls this her most personal, honest, and truthful collection.  Limón explains why it's her most accessible poetry - it isn't poetry written for fellow poets, it's poetry for everyone.  http://adalimon.com/

For our Poem of the Week, Limón reads "How to Triumph Like a Girl," which was recently awarded the Pushcart Prize.

Aired April 24, 2016

Tim Z. Hernandez

  Words on a Wire host Tim Z. Hernandez remembers the late Chicano poet and educator, Francisco X. Alarcón, who passed away January 15, 2016.  Alarcón was an influence to a young, shy, Tim Hernandez, and here he shares the story behind this photo.

Aired April 17, 2016

  In 2010, a bill was passed in the Arizona legislature that became one of the strictest anti-immigration laws in the nation: Arizona SB 1070.  State law enforcement officers would have the right to stop any individual to check on their immigration status, leading to accusation of racial profiling.

Protests began almost immediately across the nation, and poets made their voices heard on a Facebook post created by the late Chicano poet & educator, Francisco X. Alarcón (https://www.facebook.com/PoetryOfResistance/).  The countless poems were compiled and released in a new collection called "Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice," edited by Alarcón and Odilia Galvân Rodríguez.  Odilia joins us on this program to tell us more about the collection and about the role of poetry in addressing social justice issues.

Aired April 17, 2017

  PAUL PEDROZA received his BA in Creative Writing from UTEP and is currently teaching English at NMSU. His debut story collection is called "The Dead will Rise and Save Us," and feature stories that take place on the border. Pedroza joins us to tell us more about these stories and about the influence of the desert on his works.http://paulpedroza.com/  Aired April 10, 2016

  Host Daniel Chacón reflects on his 20+ years of teaching at UTEP and on the students who have gone on to have successful writing careers, like Paul Pedroza.  

Aired April 10, 2016

  Mexican author VALERIA LUISELLI wrote her novel "The Story of My Teeth" in installments in partnership with factory workers at a Jumex juice factory near Mexico City. Recently translated to English, the book is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction. The story follows a character who auctions off teeth of famous historical characters, like Pluto, Virginia Wolf, and Marilyn Monroe. Aired April 3, 2016

  Hosts Daniel Chacón and Tim Hernandez talk about the tradition of Tobacco Readers, men who were hired to read to workers at tobacco rolling factories in Cuba in the 1800s.  What if that tradition was carried on today?  What types of workers would readers read to, and what material would they read?

Aired April 3, 2016

  Knock-knock jokes are considered the lowest form of humor.  They are punny, groan-inducing, and rarely ever get a good belly laugh.  Host Daniel Chacon has been researching literary humor and shares some of the worst literary knock-knock jokes he found online.

Aired March 27, 2016

  Connie Voisine is an Associate Professor of English at New Mexico State University, and she's be talking to us while on sabbatical in Belfast, Ireland.  Connie's latest collection of poetry is "Calle Florista," and she calls it her "desert book."  She came to the Chihuahuan Desert from the Northeast, and she shares her experiences of moving from the northern US/Canada border to the southern US/Mexico border, and the bilingual communities she encountered in each.  

For our Poem of the Week, Connie reads "Calle Florista" from the collection of the same name.

http://www.connievoisine.com/

Aired March 27, 2016

  

  Leticia Hernández-Linares is a San Francisco-based poet, spoken word artist, musician, and "artevista."  Her latest collection is called "Mucha Muchacha."  Leticia explains how the Esquivel song "Mucha Muchacha," though annoying, still sparked memories of her partying abuelita that inspired her words.  The book incorporates language play, music, and testimonio.  

Leticia will also read the call-and-response poem, "Mucha Muchacha."  Feel free to join in!

http://joinleticia.com/

If you'd like to hear examples of Leticia's music and words, visit https://www.reverbnation.com/leticiahernandezlinares

Aired March 20, 2016

    

Minerva Laveaga and Lau Cesarco Eglin helped create the independent literary press, Veliz Books.  They join us on this program to tell us how their backgrounds as writers and publishers have helped contribute to this promising endeavor.  Veliz has published Paul Pedroza's 'And the Dead will Rise and Save Us,' and will also release Jeff Sirkin's 'Travelers Aid Society.'

Lau will read a poem from Sirkin's poetry collection to close out the program.

Learn more about Veliz Books at http://www.velizbooks.com/.

Aired March 13, 2016

  GIRL WAITS WITH GUN is based on the true 1914 story of three sisters whose buggy is run down by a belligerent silk factory owner and the dispute that follows. The book's author, AMY STEWART, joins us on WORDS ON A WIRE to tell us more about the book's real-life inspiration and her desire to write historical fiction after writing 6 books of nonfiction.
http://www.amystewart.com/

Aired March 6, 2016

  In our Words on a Wire interview with Amy Stewart, she mentions how she relates to readers in book clubs.  Host Tim Hernandez shares his love of book clubs, and talks about some experiences he's had when book clubs have discussed his books.

Aired March 6, 2016

  El Paso native and theatre professional Adriana Lopez Villareal joins us to talk about how she theater and why she believes in sharing her knowledge with youth.  Adriana is also a poet, and she will read the original poem, Como Emborrachar mi Corazón.

Aired March 6, 2016

  JJ AMAWORO WILSON is the author of the novel DAMNIFICADOS, which is set in a building that was inspired by the unfinished skyscraper known as the Tower of David. This tower is home to squatters of various backgrounds and nationalities who create their own communities, schools, bakeries, and even a militia. Blend this with elements of magical realism including mystical wolves, biblical floods, and multilingual ghosts, and you have a debut novel that's impossible to escape.https://jjawilson.wordpress.com/  Aired Feb 28, 2016
Vice

  Hosts Daniel Chacon and Tim Hernandez talk about getting lost in the landscape of a book.  Daniel explains how he felt he was trapped in Caracas' Tower of David (known as the world's tallest slum) while he was reading JJ Amaworo Wilson's debut novel "Damnificados," whose setting is inspired by the building.  And Tim shares a story of getting caught up in a landscape of his own creation.

Aired Feb 28, 2016

Library of Congress, Casa de Colores

  JUAN FELIPE HERRERA is the Poet Laureate of the United States. Before that he was Poet Laureate of California. And before that he was a Fresno poet who was inspiring the dreams and imaginations of thousands of children, their parents, and fellow poets. Herrera joins us again on WORDS ON A WIRE to talk about his Laureateship and how his life has changed (and how it hasn't) since he was appointed Poet Laureate of the U.S. in 2015.

Juan Felipe Herrera's works are inspired by social events, and for our Poem of the Week, he reads the poem "I'll Take a Bullet for You" inspired by the words of a police officer spoken during the San Bernardino shootings.

As part of his Laureateship, Herrera is trying to encourage everyone to express themselves through their words.  You can join the voices by contributing your expressions at the Library of Congress's Casa de Colores, established by Herrera.  https://www.loc.gov/poetry/casadecolores/

Aired Feb 21, 2016

Tomas Ovalle for the Los Angeles Times

  Before Juan Felipe Herrera was Poet Laureate of the United States, he was just a Fresno poet, just like our hosts, Daniel Chacon and Tim Z. Hernandez.  They share their memories of Herrera from "back in the day."

Aired Feb. 21, 2016

Tim Z. Hernandez

  Hosts Tim Hernandez and Daniel Chacon talk about the tendency for may writers to paint, and vice versa.  Tim had started out as a visual artist before turning primarily to writing.  Daniel channels his creative visual energy to photography.

Aired Feb. 14, 2016

  Maceo Montoya is an artist, writer, and educator, and his newest novella is "You Must Fight Them," which centers on a half-white, half-Mexican man who returns to his northern California hometown to reconnect with the Chicana girl he worshipped in high school.  He must first, however, fight her tough brothers before he can date her.

  Juan J. Morales is an Associate Professor of English at Colorado State University in Pueblo, and is the author of the new collection of poems, The Siren World.  Juan joins us to tell us about how he approaches poetry in the classroom to students who might not "get it."  Plus, he explains why The Siren World took 7 years to evolve until it was finally published.  

Juan J. Morales reads this week's Poem of the Week:  What I Said Once Time when a Woman Called Me Jose."

Aired Feb. 7, 2016

  Host Daniel Chacon is collecting literary jokes and shares a few.  Be prepared...some of them are just NOT that funny!!

If you know of any literary jokes, share them with Daniel at danchacon@utep.edu.

Aired Feb 7, 2016

  Renown cultural anthropologist and poet Renato Rosaldo joins us on this program to talk about "The Day of Shelly's Death: The Poetry and Ethnography of Grief" (2014),  a collection of Anthropoesia​ - poems that blend the language of ethnography with that of poetry.  The book reflects on the events that surrounded an October 1981 trip to the Philippines, where Rosaldo's wife Shelly, herself an anthropologist, was killed when she lost her footing and fell off a cliff.  The poems are told in the voices of the people and places surrounding the event...from their two young sons who were left without a mother, to a tricycle taxi driver, to the actual cliff itself.

For our Poem of the Week, Renato Rosaldo reads a selection from "The Day of Shelly's Death."  "Tricycle Taxi Driver" is told from the perspective of the taxi driver who gave Renato and his sons a ride after Shelly's body was recovered.

Aired Jan. 31, 2016

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