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.

  Daniel talks with Emma Trelles, whose 2011 poetry collection Tropicalia won the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize.  She talks about the Brazilian movement that influenced the title of the book, and how her journalistic background was influenced by her poetic leanings.  http://emmatrelles.com/

Emma Trelles reads one of her brand new poems for our Poem of the Week: "Hoodwinked."

And on today's Poetic License, Seattle poet Raul Sanchez shares how his works came to be published, and reads his poem "All Our Brown-Skinned Angels," which has been adopted by some Chicano activists in civil protests.

Plus...Daniel shares a few anecdotes about mis-translations: "pie" is either a delicious fruity pastry, or it's the Spanish word for "foot."  And...we'll also hear about interesting Spanish-to-English and Chinese-to-English translations.  

Aired Oct. 26, 2014.

  Daniel talks to physicist Roberto Trotta about his new book, The Edge of Sky: All You Need to Know about the All-There-Is."  For this endeavor, Roberto distanced himself from other science popularizers by attempting to describe the universe in the 1000 most used words in the English language, which meant "planet," "Earth," and even "universe" was off limits.  It's a literary challenge Daniel compares to poetry.  http://robertotrotta.com/

Plus...Daniel reflects on why Biblical metaphors are out and physics metaphors are in.

**To hear the music in today's show ("The Newton Boogie" by Ian Hartman; "The Particle Physics Song" by Danuta Orlowska, set to "The Bold Hippopotamus" b Flanders & Swann, recorded at the CERN Control Center by the CERN Choir!) visit http://www.haverford.edu/physics/songs/hartman/newton_boogie.htm and https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=2025670475332**

Aired Oct. 19, 2014

  Daniel welcomes Richard Blanco, the poet who read at President Obama's second inauguration.  Blanco's latest work is a memoir, "The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood," and he talks about learning about himself while writing about his Cuban immigrant family, and how he had to separate himself from his "poet" self in order to write his memoir.  The discussion also focuses on the humor in the book, especially Blanco's musings on the culture clash over American vs Cuban food.  http://richard-blanco.com/

Today's Poem of the Week is "The Red Poppy" by Louise Gluck, read by local poet, Nancy Lechuga.

And...taking a page from Richard Blanco's memoir and his frequent reference to The Brady Bunch, Daniel offers HIS thoughts on The Brady Bunch and how it was NOTHING like his life at home, and how it was presciently reflective of today's modern family. 

Aired Oct. 12, 2014.

  Daniel talks with Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of the poetry collection "Dandarians."  This collection grew out of "word betrayals," English words misunderstood in transmission from her Japanese mother that came to take on symbolic ramifications in her early years.  Daniel and Lee talk about the interesting words that they have come to love over the years, and explore how Lee's musical background plays into her poetry's musicality.  

For the Poem of the Week, Lee Ann Roripaugh reads the final poem in her collection, Dandarians - "The Violin Thief."

And...Daniel ponders some very interesting collective nouns, and makes up some of his own to boot!

Aired Oct. 5, 2014.

  Daniel talks with Donna J. Snyder about her latest collection, Poemas Ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal.  The book was born out of recent losses suffered by Donna in recent years and the ways she found renewal over time.  As Daniel describes her, she is a "white woman" who very easily fits into the Chicano writer community.  Follow Donna on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaJoSnyderPoet

Donna Snyder reads today's Poem of the Week, "Minnow Slip of the Finger" from Poemas Ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal.

Local writer and retired math teacher Azucena Dominguez shares her Poetic License with us, "Singing to All," which explores youthful memories of singing songs to anyone who would listen.

And Daniel shares some words of wisdom from the Talmud.

Aired Sept. 28, 2014.

  Daniel talks with Donna J. Snyder about her latest collection, Poemas Ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal.  The book was born out of recent losses suffered by Donna in recent years and the ways she found renewal over time.  As Daniel describes her, she is a "white woman" who very easily fits into the Chicano writer community.  In this online-exclusive extended interview, Donna explains why Neruda changed her life, and how she goes about arranging the order of her poems when she is putting together a collection.

Follow Donna on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaJoSnyderPoet

Aired Sept. 28, 2014.

  Daniel & Ben begin their 4th season of shows with famed Chicana novelist and poet, Lucha Corpi.  Lucha's latest book is "Confessions of a Book Burner: Personal Essays + Stories," and she explains why this is her first foray into memoir.  Lucha writes her poetry in Spanish and her prose in English, and she describes the process that goes into both.  Lucha Corpi is also the author of a series of mystery novels that feature the character Gloria Damasco.  Learn more at http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/corpiLucha.php

Lucha Corpi reads one of her own poems today's Poem of the Week: "Cancion de Invierno / Winter Song" in both Spanish & English.

In today's Poetic License, Michael Jaime Becerra, author of "Every Night is Ladies' Night," shares a few memories of the arcade where he spent his youth.

Plus...Daniel & Ben talk about their latest projects, as well as an award Daniel recently won for his short story collection, Hotel Juarez: Stories, Rooms & Loops (the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature).

Aired Sept. 7, 2014.

 

  In a rebroadcast from November 3, 2013, Ben & Daniel talk with novelist Steve Yarbrough, whose latest book is "The Real of Last Chances."   Yarbrough talks about why his book isn't set in the South or features Southern characters like in his past novel.  He also talks about his early start as a writer and when he first discovered Southern writers such as Faulkner.  Despite the Southern influence in his writing, many would be surprised at Yarbrough's fondness for Eastern European, Irish, and Latin American authors.  http://steveyarbrough.net/

For this week's Poem of the Week, Ben reads Federico Garcia Lorca's "City that Does Not Sleep."

And in this week's Poetic License, Daniel talks about the importance of mentors, specifically about his mentor, Steve Yarbrough.

Aired Aug. 31, 2014.

 

 In a rebroadcast from November 3, 2013, Ben & Daniel talk with novelist Steve Yarbrough, whose latest book is "The Real of Last Chances."   Yarbrough talks about why his book isn't set in the South or features Southern characters like in his past novel.  He also talks about his early start as a writer and when he first discovered Southern writers such as Faulkner.  Despite the Southern influence in his writing, many would be surprised at Yarbrough's fondness for Eastern European, Irish, and Latin American authors.  In this online exclusive interview, Daniel shares some memories from taking Steve Yarbrough's fiction-writing class in college, and Yarbrough talks about the influence of Eastern European writers in his latest book.  http://steveyarbrough.net/

Aired Aug. 31, 2014.

 

  

 In a rebroadcast from Oct. 27, 2013, Ben & Daniel talk with journalist and author, Alfredo Corchado.  Corchado's newest book is "Midnight in Mexico," and he talks about his often difficult journey back home to Mexico in researching the book.  Alfredo talks about his cautious optimism about Mexico, and why Mexico's resilient population hold out hope for the future.   In this online-only exclusive, Alfredo also talks about the most difficult obstacle in writing "Midnight to Mexico," the book's recent translation into Spanish, and why he still experiences stress when he returns to Mexico.  http://alfredocorchado.com/

Aired Aug 24, 2014.

 

  In a rebroadcast from Oct. 27, 2013, Ben & Daniel talk with journalist and author, Alfredo Corchado.  Corchado's newest book is "Midnight in Mexico," and he talks about his often difficult journey back home to Mexico in researching the book.  Alfredo talks about his cautious optimism about Mexico, and why Mexico's resilient population hold out hope for the future.

In our Poem of the Week, Daniel reads "Walking Around" by Pablo Neruda.

And in our Poetic License, poet Paisley Rekdal reflects on literary obscurity.

Aired Aug. 24, 2014.

  

 

  In a rebroadcast from Oct. 20, 2013, Daniel & Ben talk with Patrick Michael Finn, author of the short story collection, "From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet."  Patrick talks about spending 10 years the book, and why he gave it a second chance by reworking and revising it.  "From the Darkness" eventually won the Hudson Prize in 2009.  Patrick also talks about why he has to think of writing as "fun," and if he's ever tempted to venture into popular fiction.  Patrick also reminds Ben that he was responsible for Patrick's first published story.

For today's Poem of the Week, Ben reads "Meow Meow Kitty Kitty Death Rattle" from Shin-Yu Pai's poetry collection, Aux Arcs.

And in today's Poetic License, Daniel distinguishes between literary fiction and popular fiction - "lit fic v pop fic."

Aired Aug. 17, 2014.

 

 

   

  In a rebroadcast from October 13, 2013, Daniel talks with poet Eduardo C. Corral, author of the collection "Slow Lightning."  Corral talks about the notebooks he uses to stitch together his poems - "Slow Lightning" came together from 7 or 8 boxes of notebooks.  He also explains why he employs code switching - switching between English & Spanish - in his poems, and why he refuses to italicize the Spanish words.  Corral also talks about being accidentally placed in a writing workshop and eventually falling in love with poetry and the works of Jose Montoya. http://www.eduardocorral.com/

For our Poem of the Week, Corral reads "Ditat Deus" from his collection "Slow Lightning."

In this week's Poetic License, artist Pat Olchefski-Winston reads a chapter from her new book "The Curious Childhood of Patty O." which explains how she learned to fight back.  http://www.olchefski.com/

Aired August 10, 2014.

 

    In a rebroadcast from Sept 29, 2013, Ben & Daniel talk with Megan Bohigian, author of the collection "Sightlines."  Megan talks about the theatrical term "sightlines" and how she's adapted it to take on a literary meaning in revisiting memories from different perspectives.  Bohigian teaches Creative Writing at Fresno City College, and she talks with Daniel (a Fresno native) about why so many writers come out of Fresno.

For this week's Poem of the Week, Megan Bohigian reads "Learning to Dive, Chapman Compound Pool, 1962," from her collection "Sightlines."

In today's Poetic License, JL Powers, author of "This Thing Called the Future," talks about paralyzing fear...from the strange noises at night as a child, or as an adult of being raped or murdered in South Africa.

Plus, Daniel & Ben talk about their love/hate relationship with broccoli (Daniel loves it, Ben hates it).

Aired Aug. 3, 2014.

 In a rebroadcast from July 7, 2013, Ben & Daniel talk with Joy Castro, author of the novel "Hell or High Water" and the essay collection "The Island of Bones."  Joy talks about her background as a Jehovah's Witness, a Cuban-American, and an adoptee...and why her Latino heritage isn't often acknowledged in many Latino literary anthologies.  She also explains why that separation and alienation she experienced in life often finds its way into her books' characters.  Joy also talks about discovering her characters in the process of writing them.  http://joycastro.com/ Since the airing of this interview, Joy has published "Nearer You," the latest book featuring her character Nola Céspedes.

For today's Poem of the Week, Daniel Chacon reads Yusef Komunyakaa's "My Father's Love Letters."

Plus...Ben & Daniel talk about breaking free of the stereotypes of the "Latino" or "Chicano" writer, and why Chicano writers shouldn't be pressured to always write about abuelitas making tortillas.

Aired July 27, 2014.

In a rebroadcast from July 7, 2013, Ben & Daniel talk with Joy Castro, author of the novel "Hell or High Water" and the essay collection "The Island of Bones."  Joy talks about her background as a Jehovah's Witness, a Cuban-American, and an adoptee...and why her Latino heritage isn't often acknowledged in many Latino literary anthologies.  She also explains why that separation and alienation she experienced in life often finds its way into her books' characters.  Joy also talks about discovering her characters in the process of writing them.  In this online-only extended interview, Joy also talks about whether it’s harder to write essays or novels, and how the difficulty in tracking down sexual predators post-Katrina found its way into her novel “Hell or High Water.”  http://joycastro.com/ 

Since the airing of this interview, Joy has published "Nearer You," the latest book featuring her character Nola Céspedes.

Aired July 27, 2013. 

  Daniel talks with Cathy Linh Che, author of the poetry collection "Split," winner of the 2012 Kundiman Poetry Prize.  Cathy explains why she chose the contest route to try to get her works published rather than trying to find a willing publisher.  She also talks addresses the sexual abuse that is prevalent in her poetry collection.   http://cathylinhche.com/

Cathy Linh Che reads today's Poem of the Week - "Pomegranate."  

In this week's Poetic License, El Paso writer Azucena Dominguez shares the memory of a frightening snowy drive to Aspen (she has changed the names of those involved in this true event).

And Daniel tells us about his summer travels.

Aired July 20, 2014.

  Daniel talks with Heather Hartley, author of the poetry collection "Knock Knock."  Heather is the Paris editor for Tin House magazine and curates Shakespeare & Company Bookshop's weekly reading series in Paris.  She was also a visiting online MFA professor at the University of Texas at El Paso.  Heather talks about how her move to Paris inspired "Knock Knock," and why much of poetry is either about or inspired by travel.  In this interview, she also explains why the works of Dr. Seuss were such a huge influence on her poetry, and why humor is so very important in writing poetry.  http://www.heatherhartleyink.com/

For today's Poem of the Week, Heather Hartley treats us to a poem from her forthcoming collection, Adult Swim.  

Plus, Daniel has more reflections on Dr. Seuss...including why Seuss's works remind him of that of Edgar Allan Poe.

Aired July 13, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from June 30, 2013, Daniel & Ben talk with Jessica Soffer, whose debut novel is "Tomorrow There Will be Apricots."  Soffer talks about the origin of the book's title, and about the two very different women at the center of the novel, who are drawn together in an Iraqi-Jewish cooking class in New York City.  She also discusses the influence of Roberto Bolaño and Flannery O'Connor on her writing.   http://jessicasoffer.com/

For this week's Poem of the Week, Benjamin Alire Saenz reads one of his own poems - "The Fifth Dream: Bullets and Deserts and Borders" from the collection "Dreaming the End of War."

Daniel and Ben also talk about their summer reading plans and offer reflections on William Faulkner.

Aired June 29, 2014.

  Daniel talks with famed Chicana writer Ana Castillo, whose latest book is "Give it to Me."  She talks about the influence Charles Bukowski had on the book's main character, Palma Piedras.  Palma is a woman who has contempt for most everything and has built a shell to protect herself from the world.  Ana also explains why she likes to share her publishing rejection stories with other writers so they don't get discouraged.  http://www.anacastillo.com/

This week's Poem of the Week is "For the Foxes" by Charles Bukowski, read by Daniel Chacon.

And California Chicana poet and activist Nancy Aidé Gonzalez reads "Needlework," a Poetic License inspired by a memoir and spirituality workshop held by Ana Castillo.  In this reflection, Nancy revisits her past and her often-painful memories of her father.

Aired June 22, 2014.

 

   Daniel & Ben talk with Natalia Trevino, author of the poetry collection, Lavando La Dirty Laundry.  Natalia talks about why this book almost came to be titled something else, and why a delay in the book's publishing only made it better.  

  

  In a rebroadcast from June 2, 2013, Daniel talks with writer Dan Vera, whose newest collection of poems, "Speaking Wiri Wiri," is the recipient of the 2012 Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize.  Dan explains the meaning of "wiri wiri."  He also explains how living in Washington D.C. has left him conflicted about the often-troubled history that literally surrounds him.  Hear about his experience growing up as a Cuban-American in south Texas, and why poets Eduardo Corral and Richard Blanco are to be praised for elevating the visibility of Latino literature & poetry.  Dan also reads the poems "Tower of Babel" and "Playing Scrabble with Cousin Fela."  http://danvera.com

Aired June 8, 2014.

  Daniel talks with poet & critic, Edward Hirsch, about his latest book, A Poet's Glossary, which is not so much a book of definitions as it is an exploration of the history of the terms and how those terms interrelate to each other.  Hirsch explains why it took 15 years to compile the information for this book, and why he believes it can still be more expansive (it's already over 700 pages long).  We'll learn about the terms "Duende," "Flarf," and "Spam Poetry."  

This week's Poem of the Week is read by our guest, Edward Hirsch.  He reads "To Poetry."

For this week's Poetic License, Fresno poet Marisol Baca returns to share a couple of poems that reflect upon the world she lived in as a childhood dreamer.  We'll hear "Horno" and "The Discovery."

Aired June 1, 2014.

  Daniel talks with writer Michael Nava, whose latest novel, The City of Palaces, is set in pre-Revolutionary War Mexico during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz.  Nava is also a lawyer who is a staff attorney at the California Supreme Court, and he explains how he balances his time as an attorney and a working writer.  Nava also talks about his Henry Rios mystery series, which were centered around an openly-gay Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, published from 1986-2000.  http://michaelnavawriter.com/

For this week's Poem of the Week, local poet Nancy Lechuga reads "Myrtle" by John Ashbery.

And in this week's Poetic License, writer Marisol Baca reflects on her grandmother's kitchen in Albuquerque, where she spent much of her youth.  The piece is called The Kitchen Table.

Aired May 25, 2014.

  Daniel talks with Shirley Reva Vernick, author of the YA novel, "Remember Dippy."  Shirley started out as a print journalist and later made the move to fiction writer.  She talks about how she connects with a teenage brain to tell a relatable story.  "Remember Dippy" is published by El Paso's own Cinco Puntos Press, and Shirley, who is based out of New England, talks about why she felt at home with Cinco Puntos.  Aside from being a writer, she also runs the popular storytelling website, http://storybee.org/.  Learn more about Shirley and her work at http://shirleyvernick.wordpress.com/.

Sam Calvin Brown, a bilingual MFA student at UTEP in Creative Writing, reads today's Poem of the Week:  "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" by William Butler Yeats.

And in this week's Poetic License, Emily Yoon, an MFA Poetry student at New York University, explains why poetry is like a hand, reaching out to its reader.  Emily is the host of the podcast "Late Night New York"  http://latenightlibrary.org/category/podcasts-2/late-night-new-york/, a short-form podcast featuring a diverse array of talented authors reading at the Franklin Park Reading Series in Crown Heights Brooklyn.

Aired May 18, 2014.

Penn State Brandywine

  Daniel & Ben talk with poet John Hoppenthaler, whose books of poetry include "Anticipate the Coming Reservoir" and "Lives of Water."  His forthcoming book is "Domestic Garden," and it grew out of his own domesticity, having recently married one of his former students after reconnecting with her after a number of years.  John discusses why it took so long to get his first poetry manuscript published, and why Toni Morrison is partially responsible for its publication.

John Hoppenthaler reads one of his works for today's Poem of the Week: Dinner at the Wok 'n' Roll Buffet.

In this week's Poetic License, Sam Calvin Brown, a student in UTEP's Bilingual MFA Program, talks about MFA workshops and why they don't work.

Aired May 11, 2014.

  Daniel & Ben talk with artist and writer Maceo Montoya.  Maceo a member of Chicano royalty of sorts, belonging to the famous Montoya family.  Maceo's father is artist & activist Malaquias Montoya, his cousin is filmmaker Richard Montoya, and his brother is the late poet Andrés Montoya.  Maceo is the author of the book "The Deportation of Wopper Barraza."  He talks about the inspiration behind the book, as well as the narrative structures of his paintings.   http://maceomontoya.com/

For today's Poem of the Week, Maceo Montoya reads a poem by his brother, the late poet Andrés Montoya.  We will hear "The Ice Worker Sings."

And in this week's Poetic License, Fresno writer Joseph Rios wonders aloud "Why Fresno?"  Fresno, California, is fertile ground not just for agriculture, but for writers & poets.

And...Ben & Daniel talk about their love of art.

Aired May 4, 2014.

  

  

  

  Daniel & Ben talk with artist and writer Maceo Montoya.  Maceo a member of Chicano royalty of sorts, belonging to the famous Montoya family.  Maceo's father is artist & activist Malaquias Montoya, his cousin is filmmaker Richard Montoya, and his brother is the late poet Andrés Montoya.  Maceo is the author of the book "The Deportation of Wopper Barraza."  He talks about the inspiration behind the book, as well as the narrative structures of his paintings.  In this online-exclusive expanded interview, Maceo talks about his literary influences, and why the thought of combining his art and words into a graphic novel would be simply tedious.  http://maceomontoya.com/

Aired May 4, 2014.

La Bloga

  Daniel talks with Michael Jaime-Becerra, author of the short story collection "Every Night is Ladies Night" and the novel "This Time Tomorrow."  Michael is also an Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of California at Riverside, where he takes great pride in the success of the department.  He talks about the rapid success of his very first story collection, "Every Night is Ladies Night," and how a fiction workshop he took as an MFA student inspired its writing.

This week's Poem of the Week is "Close Reading" by Mary Szybist, the winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry.  The poem comes from the collection "Incarnadine," and is read for us by local poet, Nancy Lechuga.

And in today's Poetic License, Daniel is transported to Los Angeles, where he phones in his reflection on  local ethnic communities like Little Ethiopia in L.A.  What would a "Little U.S.A." in a foreign country be like?

Aired April 27, 2014.

  Daniel talks with James E. Cherry, an online MFA student in the UTEP Department of Creative Writing.  Cherry lives in Tennessee and is working on his MFA online.  Cherry's newest poetry collection "Loose Change" is not his first book, having already published fiction and poetry prior to entering the MFA program, but he feels the program has made him a better writer, and many of the poems in "Loose Change" grew out of the MFA workshops.

For this week's Poem of the Week, James E. Cherry reads "Suspect" from his collection "Loose Change."

In this week's Poetic License, fellow UTEP online MFA student Guadalupe Mendez (who lives in San Antonio) reflects on the legacy of books, and why he feels Latino writers and poets need to be heard by wider audiences.

Aired April 20, 2014.

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