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.


*Rebroadcast from Sept 13, 2015*  

Quetzani Montaño Sevilla reads Emily Dickinson’s “I Heard a Fly Buzz.”

Aired July 3, 2016

 *Rebroadcast from Sept 13, 2015* 

  Daniel Chacon and Tim Hernandez talk with author Nuala O'Connor, who also writes as Nuala Ní Chonchúir.  Her latest book, MISS EMILY, re-imagines the life of famed poet Emily Dickinson and her interactions with her Irish domestic, Ada Concannon.  Nuala explains her fascination with Dickinson (down to her baking prowess), and explains why she wanted to keep this fictionalized version of Dickinson true to her real life character.  http://www.nualanichonchuir.com/

Aired July 3, 2016.

  **rebroadcast from June 28, 2015**

Retired educator and writer Azucena Dominguez shares a Poetic License about a first date that never was.

Aired June 26, 2016


  **Re-broadcast from June 28, 2015**


  Daniel talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Tracy K. Smith.  She has written her first memoir, Ordinary Light, and she talks about why she waited many years to write about the death of her mother.  She also explains why the memoir allowed her to explore the subject of race and to reflect on how her parents lived & coped in the segregated South.  And in this online-only extended interview, Tracy reflects on the conflicts she encountered between religion and reason in her upbringing.

Tracy K. Smith also reads today's Poem of the Week: "In Brazil" from the collection Duende.

Aired June 26, 2016


  Host Daniel Chacón talks about the ways we infuse metaphor into images or language.  He uses as an example the metaphorical possibilities of the image of a flower growing in cracked concrete.  Often, metaphor is often imposed on images and words when it isn't necessarily implied by the author.

Aired June 19, 2016

  Keith Leonard is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at Indiana University.  He grew up in Martha's Vineyard, where the town's isolation, in stark contrast with the booming tourist season, later inspired his words.  His debut collection is called "Ramshackle Ode."  Leonard's odes are a means to work through difficulty to reach a measure of joy.  

For our Poem of the Week, Keith Leonard reads "In the Headwinds of a Fable" from Ramshackle Ode.

*this is an online-only extended version of the interview that aired on KTEP*

Aired June 19, 2016

  Host Tim Z. Hernandez praises guest Ire'ne Lara Silva, and relates her use of words to the Mexican curandera María Sabina, who believed in the power of introspective, sacred words to eradicate illness.

Aired June 12, 2016

  Ire'ne Lara Silva is the author of the poetry collection "Blood Sugar Canto," which uses words to help face the fears about diabetes and to offer hope and healing to fellow sufferers.  Silva insists that our bodies are not just physical machines, but they must be holistically healed in order to thrive.  

For our Poem of the Week, Ire'ne Lara Silva will read "Grace," which is a moving portrait of a foot exam.


Aired June 12, 2016

  Thomas Lux is an acclaimed poet and educator whose latest collection is "To the Left of Time." Lux has been the Poet in Residence at Emerson College from 1972-75, he has taught at the Universities of Iowa, Michigan, and California at Irvin. Lux has also received 3 NEA grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Lux joins us on this to talk about his decades-long career, the accessibility of poetry, and his use metaphor.Lux will also read a selection from his latest collection, Cow Chases Boys. Aired June 5, 2016

  Host Daniel Chacón welcomes local kindergarten teacher Jolène M. Espinoza and her daughter, 2nd grader Eliyah Lara  Jolène talks about how she engages her young students in reading, and how the books that she read as a young girl are being used in her classroom today.  Eliyah will also talk about some of her favorite reads.

Aired June 5, 2016

  Local 2nd grader, Eliyah Lara, shares with us an excerpt from her favorite Dr. Seuss book, There's a Wocket in My Pocket!

Aired June 5, 2016

  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


  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.


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

  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

  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

  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.


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!


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.

Aired March 6, 2016