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Word S9.1 — ‘Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it’: Sci-fi, Black history and haiku

Coming up on this Season 9 opener of Word, wanna get off this planet?

A new sci-fi novel examines the implications of doing so and what it means for sustainability for those of us who choose to stay on it.

Plus, it’s Black History Month.

Why are representations of African American history lacking in Arizona?

Finally, February also means National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo), and the 2023 KJZZ Haiku Writing Contest.

Listen to the podcast for the topic. You can click on the official site, too.

Guest list

“Critical Mass,” is the latest sci-fi novel from Daniel Suarez. It follows the precursor, “Delta V.”

Suarez is known for his predictive writing.

“In this book, he shows readers how humanity could actually establish a permanent presence in space. His most high-stakes thriller yet, [the book] follows a space rescue mission that faces insurmountable odds: dodging the global political powers determined to stop the mission, building the first deep space station and its economy, and — on top of everything else — timing their launch perfectly…otherwise the mission will never be able to reach the asteroid carrying the stranded crew in time,” according to his publisher.

He will spend some time at Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale on Feb. 17. 

Meskeram Glegziabher is director of Inclusion & Community Engagement for the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and is an assistant clinical professor.

Her recent publication, “Where Are All the Black Folks? Popular Narratives and the Erasure of Black History in Arizona” was published in the "Journal of Arizona History," available to the public  through the end of March.

Glegziabher talks about the erasure of that history in the Valley and hopes for more awareness about the contributions African Americans have made and continue to make in Arizona.

Her work was inspired by Clottee Hammons, creative director of Emancipation Arts in Phoenix, which seeks to, “raise the profile of Black artists in Arizona,” according to the organization’s website.

Glegziabher earned her doctorate and master's in sociocultural anthropology with a graduate concentration in gender and development from Michigan State University in 2016. 

You can hear a longer interview with her below.
Hear Meskeram Glegziabher's interview with KJZZ's Tom Maxedon


February also means National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and the 2023 KJZZ Haiku Writing Contest.

This year, we’re looking for poems which answer the question: What’s something you want to reset in your life?

Our contest is inspired by technical editor  Michael Dylan Welch who began the practice a long time ago, but not in a galaxy far, far away.

He created NaHaiWriMo over a decade ago and continues the practice today.

Welch offers ideas on getting in the haiku writing habit, what makes a good poem, paying attention, being astonished and writing about it.


Thanks so much for listening to public radio, which is largely made possible by the essential and ongoing support of its listeners who become sustaining members.

You count on KJZZ to bring you important news, thought-provoking discussion and entertaining programs like Word.

Thanks so much for your support!

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.