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Word S11.3 – It’s National Poetry Month; KJZZ reporter has a prize-winning debut crime novel

On this episode, we celebrate National Poetry Month and the release of the debut crime novel from an Emmy Award-winning and longtime KJZZ reporter.

National Poetry Month

April means many things to different people. For us, it's a chance to shine a spotlight on National Poetry Month.

Alan Perry is with the  Arizona State Poetry Society and is also co-editor of the online poetry zine, “RockPaperPoem.” The magazine is currently accepting poems for  a juried competition with cash awards. Per usual for contests of this sort, there is a nominal entry fee.  Danusha Laméris will judge the finalists. 

According to the website, the publication prints, "poetry that sticks in your throat like a peach pit – undissolvable, unmovable, permanent. We feature poems that glide as easily as paper planes – airy, translucent, even lyrical. But we also want the sharpness of a scythe that cuts away the chaff and may even nick us in the process, leaving a stunning essence.

RockPaperPoem publishes today's finest poetry from established, emerging and new poets writing in English. We strive to include all cultural identities as we highlight work that expands the boundaries of mainstream poetry, without sacrificing accessibility for experimentation. We applaud and publicize our contributors by nominating for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net."

Perry splits parts of his time living in Tucson, where the city's poetry festival is occurring April 13-14.

Prescott-based poet Megan Merchant

We also welcome writer and award-winning poet  Megan Merchant to the program. She lives with her husband and children in Prescott, Arizona. How she got there is a story of its own.  

U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera stated her "poetry has the sudden fall into dream, tenderness, awakenings and delicate and crystalline images - the tone and lines are just right and seem to be in the language of a forest at night and the unseen eye in the wave," according to her author website. 

​Merchant "is the editor of "Pirene's Fountain" and the author of three full-length collections with Glass Lyre Press: "Gravel Ghosts," (2016), "The Dark's Humming," ( 2015 Lyrebird Award), and "Grief Flowers" (2018). Her latest book, Before the Fevered Snow (Stillhouse Press) came into the world in April  2020. She is also the author of four chapbooks: Translucent, sealed, (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), Unspeakable Light (Throwback Books, 2016), In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, 2016), and A Thousand Paper Cranes (Finishing Line Press, 2016)."

KJZZ reporter talks 'Off the Air'

“Off the Air” is a debut crime novel from Emmy Award-winning and longtime KJZZ reporter  Christina Estes. She won the Tony Hillerman Prize for it!

Of course, crime novels can take many forms, ranging from the cozy, to the gory. Hers falls closer to the former.

Estes reports primarily  on the city of Phoenix and business.  

Poet performs at exhibit honoring George Floyd

As we round out the show with a focus on National Poetry Month, we present the work and performance by poet Trinity Miracle.

Recently, Miracle performed some original poems at the Arizona State University Museum as part of an event hosted by Black River Life— an African Diaspora-centered creative organization based in Phoenix.

The event was a tie-in with a museum exhibit honoring George Floyd,  titled "Twin Flames."

Miracle's featured poem on this episode is “Homecoming.”

Word will return later this month with more literary convos. Thanks to everyone who supports public radio! Contact KJZZ's Tom Maxedon with comments or suggestions for future shows.

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