KTEP - El Paso, Texas

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.

Author Isabel Quintero and illustrator Zeke Peña have come together to create Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide, a poetic graphic biography about renowned Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide and her adventures around the world. We had the opportunity of speaking with the two of them and discussed what into the making behind this wonderful book.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. This week, we had the honor of speaking with him about his latest collection of poetry, Cenzontle, which was chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin, Jr. prize and will be published by BOA Editions in 2018. We discussed his writing process, his work as a founder of the Undocupoets campaign, and even how his poetry has transformed since becoming a father. 

Local businessman Don Shapiro and author/filmmaker Valentin Sandoval have joined forces to build a creative center for established and emerging artists of all mediums. This week, the two joined us in-studio to tell us about this collaborative project, as well as their book, that is helping shape the future of El Paso's creative artistic community.

Poets.org

Li-Young Lee was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. His father had been a personal physician to Mao Zedong while in China, and relocated the family to Indonesia, where he helped found Gamaliel University. In 1959, the Lee family fled the country to escape anti-Chinese sentiment and after a five-year trek, they settled in the United States in 1964. Li-Young Lee is the author of multiple critically acclaimed books of poetry, and this week, we spoke with him about his newest collection of poetry, The Undressing, which investigates the violence and dispossession increasingly prevalent around the world, as well as the horrors he grew up with as a child of refugees.

This week, Daniel Chacón sat down with a former student of his, Yasmin Ramirez. Yasmin now holds an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Texas at El Paso and is currently an Assistant Professor of English at El Paso Community College. Yasmin's work has been featured in various journals including Cream City Review to HUIZACHE. The two discussed Yasmin's work, as well as her newest endeavor taking her to Europe this summer. 

Reach Out

Vivimarie VanderPoorten is a Sri Lankan poet. Her book Nothing Prepares You won the 2007 Gratiaen Prize.She was also awarded the 2009 SAARC Poetry Award in Delhi. This week, we had the privilege of speaking with VanderPoorten about her third collection of poems, Borrowed Dust. 

Nicaraguan poet Francisco Larios is the editor and translator of Los Hijos de Whitman, a collaboration of over 100 North American poems and poets and has turned it into an incredible representation of U.S. poetry. This week we had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Larios about this project.

Former UTEP MFA candidate, Guadalupe Garcia McCall was this week's special guest as we discussed her work and being a recent inductee into the Texas Institute of Letters! McCall is the author of Under the Mesquite, Summer of the Mariposas, and her poems for children have appeared in The Poetry Friday Anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science.

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Host Daniel Chacón welcomes Dr. Brian Yothers as co-host for this week's edition of Words on a Wire when the two speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Matteson. Matteson is a professor of English and legal writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and will be this year's keynote speaker at UTEP’s 33rd annual Literature Lecture. Before the big event, however, we got the opportunity to speak with Matteson about his book Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father.

The campus event will be held on April 5, 2018, at 7 PM at the Undergraduate Learning Center.

Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of Invocation to Daughters. She was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the author of four previous collections of poetry, Gravities of Center (2003), Poeta en San Francisco (2005), Diwata (2010), and To Love as Aswang (2015). We had the privilege of speaking with her this week to discuss her latest collection of poetry.

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants. Her work has recently appeared in Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Epiphany, Southern Indiana Review, PBS Newshour and elsewhere. This week, we visited with Ms. Villarreal to discuss her latest book of poems, Beast Meridian, which follows a first-generation Mexican-American girl in crisis surviving the painful experiences of a racialized girlhood, cultural displacement, generational trauma, familial loss, economic struggle, and violence.

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Debut poet and former student of our prestigious writing program here at the University of Texas at El Paso, Steve Lambert is this week’s guest as we discuss his first collection of poetry titled Heat Seekers. Lambert’s is the recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations, Best of the Net nomination, and was a Rash Fiction Award finalist. He currently lives in Northeast Florida, with his wife and daughter, where he works in a library and teaches part-time at the University of North Florida.

Poet, fiction writer and performance artist Norman Antonio Zelaya joins us this week to discuss his debut collection of stories titled Orlando and Other Stories. The book captures the pulse and humanity of San Francisco's Mission District through the eyes of a son of Nicaraguan immigrants. Host Tim Z. Hernandez has known Zelaya for over 20 years now and they finally get to reconnect with a piece of work that has been long awaited for.

J.L. Powers is the award-winning author of three young adult novels, The Confessional, This Thing Called the Future, and Amina. She works as an editor/publicist for Cinco Puntos Press, and teaches creative writing, literature, and composition at Skyline College in California’s Bay Area. M.A. Powers has a PhD in the oncological sciences from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He is currently a stay-at-home dad and lives in Maine. Broken Circle is his first novel written and the first novel the siblings have written together. 

Sergio Troncoso is the author of The Last Tortilla and Other Stories, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays, and the novels The Nature of Truth and From This Wicked Patch of Dust. Among the numerous awards he has won are the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize, Southwest Book Award, Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews, International Latino Book Award, and Bronze Award for Multicultural Fiction from ForeWord Reviews. Troncoso has had much success nationally and internationally but has a special place right here in El Paso. We welcome him back to the border on this week's Words on a Wire.

Kimberly K. Williams is the 2012 Bright Harvest Prize Winner for poetry and received an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Texas at El Paso. As one of Daniel Chacón's former students, it is especially exciting to reconnect with old students and congratulate them on their success. We discuss Williams' first book of poetry, Finally, the Moon, and how it went from her master's thesis to print. 

Trent D. Hudley is a professor of English. He teaches in the Creative Writing MA Program at Regis University and at the Community College of Denver. He earned his BA from Metropolitan State University and his MFA from our very own University of Texas at El Paso. Hudley was, in fact, one of Daniel Chacón's students! This week's episode is a bit of a homecoming as we speak with Hudley about his collection of short stories, One of These Days.

Host Tim Hernandez gets the opportunity to speak with one of his favorite contemporary writers today - Manuel Paul López. López's latest work, These Days of Candy, truly depicts his creative power and he is certainly a name to watch in the years to come. López has co-edited numerous books and has had his own work published in Bilingual Review, Denver Quarterly, Hanging Loose, Huizache, and Puerto del Sol, among others. His work has been supported by the San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst Fund and he currently lives in San Diego, CA and teaches at San Diego City College.

Jennifer Howd has been building a mindfulness practice for a few years before taking on the challenge of her first nine-day silent meditation retreat. In her debut memoir, Sit, Walk, Don't Talk: How I Survived A Silent Meditation Retreat, she chronicles the humorous adventures of the dueling inner voices that emerge in the silence: one intent on focusing on the seemingly negative aspects of her experiences, and the other on helping her see the positivity that can come from them. Host Daniel Chacón talks to Jennifer Howd about her retreat and the process of producing this memoir.

Tim Hernandez has the privilege of speaking with award-winning author, editor, and co-host of Words on a Wire - Daniel Chacón! Daniel and Tim discuss Daniel's latest work, The Cholo Tree. Daniel Chacón is author of five books of fiction and editor of A Jury of Trees, the posthumous poems of Andrés Montoya. He is co-editor with Mimi Gladstein of The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: The Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga. He is recipient of the Pen Oakland Fiction Award, a Chris Isherwood Foundation Grant, the Hudson Book Prize, and The American Book Award.

Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990. In 1999, Javier migrated through Guatemala, Mexico, and eventually the Sonoran Desert. Before a coyote abandoned his group in Oaxaca, Javier managed to make it to Arizona with the aid of other migrants. We visit with Zamora to discuss his first full-length collection, Unaccompanied, which explores how immigration and the civil war have impacted his family. 

On this special edition of Words on a Wire, Daniel Chacón has the privilege of having multiple talented poets all together in our studio. He speaks with Cynthia Guardado, Lauren Espinoza, and María Teresa López Avedoy the winner and finalists of the Pellicer-Frost Binational Poetry Prize. Poets from the US and Mexico competed and the winners were invited to Juarez and El Paso for a reading and a ceremony to honor their accomplishment.

Dawn Martin Lundy and Angie Cruz were traveling through El Paso when we got the opportunity to sit down with them in-studio for an insightful interview on what it's like to be a wandering poet as well as their latest work! Poet and activist Dawn Lundy Martin earned a BA at the University of Connecticut, an MA at San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is a co-founder of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) at the University of Pittsburgh. Angie Cruz holds a BA in English and MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. She has received numerous grants for her teaching and writing, including the Barbara Deming Award, New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, Camargo Fellowship, Van Lier Literary Fellowship, and NALAC Fund for the Arts Fellowship. Both are professors at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of English.

Marcus Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review's Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and the Fine Arts Work Center. His second book, Silencer was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017 and is a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Marcus teaches in the MFA program at the University of Memphis, and he is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review and this week we speak with him about his most recent work.

Gabriel Thompson is an independent journalist who has written for the New York Times, Harper's, New York, Slate, Mother Jones, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Nation. His articles about labor and immigration have won a number of prizes, including the Studs Terkel Media Award and the Sidney Award. He speaks with host Tim Hernandez about his latest work, Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California Agriculture.

Layli Long Soldier is the recipient of the 2015 NACF National Artist Fellowship, a 2015 Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a 2016 Whiting Award. Her poems have appeared in The American Poet, The American Reader, The Kenyon Review Online, and other publications and this week we speak with her about her latest book of poems, Whereas.

Quintan Ana Wikswo joins us again to talk about her interesting hybrid book that Publishers Weekly calls, "euphoric and surprising." Always an interesting and insightful conversation whenever Quintan Ana joins us, and we'll learn more about her book "A Long Curving Scare Where The Heart Should Be."

Former Words on a Wire co-host Benjamin Alire Sáenz revisits us in Studio B to discuss his recent work. Dr. Sáenz taught as a professor in UTEP's Creative Writing department for over twenty-three years before retiring to dedicate his time entirely to writing and there was so much to discuss, Dr. Sáenz is being featured in a special two-part edition of Words on a Wire.  

Part 2 of 2

Former Words on a Wire co-host Benjamin Alire Sáenz revisits us in Studio B to discuss his recent work. Dr. Sáenz taught as a professor in UTEP's Creative Writing department for over twenty-three years before retiring to dedicate his time entirely to writing and there was so much to discuss, Dr. Sáenz is being featured in a special two-part edition of Words on a Wire. 
Part 1 of 2

Lex Williford holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and is a professor in the Bilingual Creative Writing Program at UTEP. He joins us in-studio as we talk about his book Superman On the Roof, which won the 10th Annual Rose Metal Press Short Short Chapbook Contest. 

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