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.

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

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

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

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. Maceo talks about the similarities between his main character and himself, and how his community works its way into his writing and his paintings. The cover of the...

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

Host Daniel Chacón reads a poem by the late C.D. Wright, who died in her sleep on Jan. 12, 2016. The poem is excerpted from Deepstep Come Shining. Aired Jan. 24, 2016

Writer and Vanderbilt University associate professor Lorraine Lopez joins us on this program to tell us about her novel "The Darling." The protagonist, Caridad, is in love with "dead, white men"...specifically dead, white authors such as Chekhov, Flaubert, Nabokov, and Thomas Hardy. Lopez explains why this novel grew out of the idea of cross-dressing: male authors who inhabited female personas in their writing. http://www.lorraine-lopez.com/ Aired Jan. 24, 2016

Host Daniel Chacón remembers 2 poets who died within days of each other this month. The famed Chicano poet Francisco X. Alarcón died on January 15, and award-winning American poet C.D. Wright died in her sleep on January 12. Daniel opens the show with a poem by Alarcón, and reflects on a 2012 "Words on a Wire" interview with C.D. Wright. Aired Jan. 24, 2016

Blue Flower Arts

American poet C.D. Wright died January 12, 2016, at age 67. She published over a dozen books, including ShallCross (2016); and One With Others (2011), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a National Book Award. Wright was a guest on a January 2012 episode of "Words on a Wire" and we share that interview with you here. Wright talks with hosts Daniel Chacon and Benjamin Alire Saenz about how her poetry has changed over the years, and why her book "One with Others" became the closest thing to a novel she has ever written.

Host Tim Hernandez shares an anecdote about presenting poetry (once upon a time ago) to famed poetry editor, Ed Ochester, and reads words of praise for Ochester written by poet Gerald Stern. Aired Jan. 17, 2016

Ed Ochester is the editor of the Pitt Poetry Series, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He joins us to talk about the changing world of publishing and why it can be difficult for emerging poets to publish their works. The Pitt Poetry Series, back when Ochester began as editor (late 1970s), was almost exclusively white, male, and heterosexual. In the 4 decades since, the Pitt Poetry Series has published poets who better reflect our evolving landscape, including Richard Blanco, Ross Gay, and Etheridge Knight. For our Poem of the Week, Ed Ochester reads "Poetry" from his latest collection of poetry "Sugar Run Road." Aired Jan. 17, 2016

wordsonawire.org

Host Daniel Chacon argues that comedy writing is much like writing poetry. He also asks whether all ideas really need to be written down. Aired Jan. 10, 2015

Megan Amram is a comedy writer, a powerhouse presence on Twitter, and the author of "Science...for Her!" a book that features a woman-hating fictional Megan Amram who in reality takes down a lot of sexist tropes that exist in women's magazines. Megan joins us to tell us more about how Twitter launched her writing career ( https://twitter.com/meganamram ), why she thinks poetry & comedy writing share a sense of subversiveness, and how she managed to get Gloria Steinem to write a blurb for her book! Watch Megan on the "Smart Girls" webseries with Amy Poehler: http://amysmartgirls.com/series-premiere-experimenting-with-megan-amram/ Aired Jan. 10, 2016

For more than two decades author T.J. ENGLISH has chronicled the American underworld. His latest book is 'Where the Bodies Were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him,' which covers this notorious Boston mobster's trial while also uncovering the government corruption that was partly responsible for Bulger's crimes. He joins us to tell us why corruption and organized crime go hand-in-hand, and why the Irish mob can draw parallels to the narco wars in Mexico. http://www.tj-english.com/ Aired Jan. 3, 2016

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