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.

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


  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.


Aired Jan. 3, 2016

  Christopher David Rosales is a fiction writer whose debut novel SILENCE THE BIRD, SILENCE THE KEEPER is set in a part of Los Angeles that isn't on any tourist pamphlets. Rosales aims to prove with this book that civil strife and urban warfare is REAL warfare...as real as the wars we fight overseas. http://www.christopherrosales.com/

Aired Dec. 27, 2015

  Saul Hernandez is a graduate student earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He is a transplant from San Antonio, and he joins us to tell us about why he chose UTEP to further his education, and to share the original poem, "Tortillas."

Aired Dec. 27, 2015

  Urayoán Noel is the author of Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico, a collection of bilingual poems that experiment with eccentric self-translation. Urayoán composed many of these poems on electronic devices, and used apps and tools to rework them into unique works of art. For our Poem of the Week, Urayoán Noel reads one of his performative sonnets in Spanish and English.http://urayoannoel.com/  Aired Dec. 20, 2015

University of Texas at El Paso, R. Gerald

  Inspired by Norma Cantu's book "Transcendental Trainyard," Words on a Wire hosts Daniel Chacon and Tim Hernandez reflect on train memories from their childhood.

Aired Dec. 13, 2015

  Norma Cantú is a poet and a professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Her latest collaboration, which she calls a "collaborative suite," is a collection of poems and art by Marta Sánchez.  Norma talks about the evocative nature of trains, and how the poetry and artwork came together almost synchronously.  

For our Poem of the Week, Norma reads the first 2 poems in the collection.

Aired Dec 13, 2015


   Allison Hedge Coke is a writer, poet, musician, and activist, and her latest collection of poems is called "Streaming." On this edition of Words on a Wire, she explains how she employed the concept of streaming, and how it was inspired by the murmuration of migratory birds in flight. Her poems are also intrinsically musical, and that led her to team up with a group of musicians called Rd Klā for an improvisational blend of music and poetry. (The music is available for a free download through the month of December with purchase of the book "Streaming.") http://www.allisonhedgecoke.com/

For our Poem of the Week, Allison Hedge Coke reads "She Shakes Chilies from Her Hair." (View animation of the poem - read by a voice actor - at http://www.pixelfarm.com/work/motion-poems/). Aired Dec. 6, 2015

  We welcome John Hoppenthaler back to the program to talk about his latest collection, Domestic Garden.  Hoppenthaler explains why in today's publishing world it's not just enough to write poetry, but perform and market it effectively.   He talks about why the metaphor of the "garden" played such a strong role in his latest collection, and he describes having stayed in poet Elizabeth Bishop's house for a week.  

For our Poem of the Week, Hoppenthaler reads "Sleeping in Elizabeth Bishop's Bedroom."

Aired Nov 29, 2015.

The Poetry Foundation

  Inspired by guest John Hoppenthaler's poem "Sleeping in Elizabeth Bishop's Bedroom," Words on a Wire host Daniel Chacon reflects on having once slept in the bed of the recently-deceased Poet Laureate Philip Levine.  Does this kind of experience spur any extraordinary creativity?  For Daniel, it did.

Aired Nov. 29, 2015.

  Val Brelinski is a first-time novelist whose debut book "The Girl Who Slept with God" has been published to rave reviews.  Brelinski drew upon her experiences growing up in an evangelical family to craft this story about the relationship between two sisters - one who is true to her faith to a fault, and another who is "full of the devil."   Brelinski tells us about her fortunate path to fame, and about the influence her family had on the story.  http://valbrelinski.com/

Aired Nov. 22, 2015.

  Host Daniel Chacon reflects on trying to get his first work of fiction published and facing numerous letters of rejection.  He tells us about one rejection letter which struck a chord with him in that the writer of the letter asked him to stop writing about "drunk Mexicans."

Aired Nov. 22, 2015

  Donald Hall is the former Poet Laureate of the United States, former poetry editor of The Paris Review, and has written over 50 genre-spanning books.  He joins us to talk about what may be his final collection of poetry, "The Selected Poems of Donald Hall," which features poems from his decades-long career.  He also reflects on the poems he wrote following the death of his wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, and why he chose to write those works in the third person.

For our Poem of the Week, Donald Hall reads MOUNT KEARSARGE, a poem which reflects upon the mountain visible from the front porch of Hall's ancestral New Hampshire home.

Aired Nov. 15, 2015.

  Host Daniel Chacon is inspired by a line from one of Donald Hall's poems to reflect up0n living longer than his mother.  Daniel is in his early 50s, and his mother died at 48.

Aired Nov. 15, 2015.


   Randy Fertel is the author of THE GORILLA MAN AND THE EMPRESS OF STEAK.  Randy's father ran for Mayor of New Orleans on the campaign promise of getting a gorilla for the zoo.  He received only 300 votes.  Randy's mother, Ruth, bought Chris Steak House and transformed it into the now-famous Ruth's Chris Steak House restaurant chain.  Randy joins us to talk about his family's fascinating history.  http://www.gorillamanofneworleans.com/

Aired November 8, 2015


  Hosts Daniel Chacon and Tim Hernandez, inspired by Randy Fertel's memoir "The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak," talk about what makes a good steak...and they think about how to subtly ask Randy for a gift certificate to Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Aired Nov 8, 2015

  Lennon/McCartney.  Jobs/Wozniak.  Marie & Pierre Curie.  These are just a few of the world's great partnerships, and writer JOSHUA WOLF SHENK joins us to talk about what he learned in researching relationships and creative partnerships for his book "Powers of Two: How Relationships Drive Creativity."  Plus he also demystifies the idea of the "solitary genius."  http://www.shenk.net/Aired Nov 1, 2015.

  Our Poetic License for this program is the original song "Girl," performed by local musician and UTEP Multi-Media Journalism student, Quetzani Montaño Sevilla.

Aired Nov. 1, 2015

  Inspired by guest Joshua Wolf Shenk's book on creative partnerships, host Tim Hernandez reflects on some of his past collaborations, including the "Cucuy" performance group he put together with some neighborhood buddies, to a later collaboration with Juan Felipe Herrera, who is currently serving as the U.S. Poet Laureat.  In Tim's words, he "sucks" at collaborations!

Aired Nov. 1, 2015.

  •   TANAYA WINDER is a Native American poet, writer, artist, and educator.  She talks about her debut poetry collection WORDS LIKE LOVE, and about the personal, narrative nature of her poems.  Tanaya is also the editor in chief of As/Us, a literary journal that primarily showcases works by indigenous women and women of color.  (http://asusjournal.org/)


  • For our Poem of the Week, Tanaya reads "Learning to Say I Love You" from her collection Words Like Love.

http://tanayawinder.com/Aired Oct. 25, 2015

  MONICA GOMEZ is a local writer, musician, poet, and motivational speaker, as well as the former host of KTEP's State of the Arts. She'll join host Daniel Chacon to talk about the writing process and her new book, EXPRESSERCIZE: WRITE ANSWERS, a creative writing workbook that aims to ignite the creative spark in all of us.


Aired Oct. 18, 2015

  In this online-exclusive expanded interview, LINDA GREGERSON talks with host Daniel Chacon about her retrospective collection PRODIGAL: New & Selected Poems, 1976-2014.  Gregerson reflects on her older poems, why certain poems can be compared to a bad `80's hairdo, and the unique indentations, or pivot points, she employs in her poetry.  

Gregerson also reads her poem "Salt."

Aired Oct. 11, 2015.

space.com Shutterstock Victor Habbick


  Words on a Wire host Daniel Chacon postulates on the multiple universes that may exist (according to many theoretical physicists), and how they relate to our imagination.

Aired Oct. 4, 2015.

  Novelist MATT BELL joins us to talk about his novel "Scrapper."  The book is set in the near future in down-and-out Detroit, and the main character scavenges scraps of metal, steel, and copper to survive.  Bell explains how he learned about the importance of landscapes through the works of Cormac McCarthy.  


Aired Oct. 4, 2015

  Hosts Daniel Chacon and Tim Hernandez welcome spoken word artist Richie Marrufo to the show, and they briefly talk about El Paso's literary culture.

Aired Sept 27, 2015

  Daniel talks with Kristin FitzPatrick, author of "My Pulse is an Earthquake," a collection of stories that explores grief, darkness, and light.  Some of the stories grew out of a workshop that host Daniel Chacon had taught when he was a visiting professor at Fresno State.


Aired Sept 27, 2015