West Texas Talk

West Texas Talk broadcasts Thursday at 6 pm and rebroadcasts Friday at 9 am. The locally produced program made its debut when the station launched, and as a result, has become a repository of hundreds of local profiles.

The show is hosted by Diana Nguyen and rotating community members. The program is also produced by Diana Nguyen. The theme music was composed by Andy Stack.

In May 2019, West Texas Talk transitioned from a thirty-minute program into an hour-long show.

The first half of the program features discussions about regional issues and topics with residents and experts. Whether looking at immigration on the border, delving into West Texas history, or having conversations about the Big Bend’s changing towns we hope to explore the topics that matter most to residents of West Texas.

The second half of the show celebrates the creative spirit of Far West Texas and features conversations with writers, musicians, filmmakers, and artists who both live here and pass through the region. Interviews with Lannan writing residents are featured in this half of the show.

We invite you to join in on the conversation by telling us who you think we should interview and the issues you would like to hear about by emailing diana@marfapublicradio.org.

Subscribe to the West Texas Talk podcast on iTunes.

Recently on West Texas Talk:

Thursday, Apr 4, 2019:
Artists Beatriz Cortez and Fernando Palma Rodríguez

On this episode, General Manager Elise Pepple interviews two artists currently installing work at Ballroom Marfa — Beatriz Cortez and Fernando Palma Rodríguez.

Cortez, who is based in Los Angeles, talks about how her installation responds to Marfa as a place where she sees both a history of segregation and a culture of preservation and art. “When I come to spaces like this, I feel celebrated as an artist, and I feel intimidated as an immigrant all at once,” she says.

Palma Rodríguez lives and works in the agricultural region of Milpa Alta outside Mexico City. He talks about the role storytelling plays in his robotic sculptures, as well as his drive to promote and preserve the Nahuatl language.

The opening reception for Ballroom Marfa’s Candelilla, Coatlicue, and the Breathing Machine, featuring work by Cortez, Rodríguez, and artist Candice Lin will be held on Friday April 5th at 6pm.

Thursday, Mar 28, 2019:
Permian High School Students Share Their Stories On Growing Up In A Boom Bust Economy

On this episode, we share essays from four students at Permian High School in Odessa. The stories were written for the Boom or Bust project — an initiative of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin — and explore how the unstable economy affects the students’ lives and their relationship to money. The project aims to help promote understanding of the region’s energy and economic resources from a humanistic perspective.

Diana Nguyen also talks to teacher Katie Groneman about teaching in a boom-bust economy and why she thinks these stories are important.

Thanks to students Alejandro Tarango, Jaiden Ramsey, Zach Robinson, and Abby Gex for sharing.

Thursday, Mar 21, 2019:
A Glimpse Of The Big Bend Through Sonic IDs

On this episode, Elise Pepple interviews producer Diana Nguyen about Sonic IDs — a project that explores the experiences and perspectives of people in West Texas in thirty seconds.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019:
Writer Kerry Howley On Larry Nassar, MMA, And American Surveillance

On this episode, Rachel Monroe speaks to Lannan writer-in-residence Kerry Howley. Howley is a contributor to New York Magazine and teaches at the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.

They discuss Howley’s writing on Larry Nassar (the USA Gymnastics national team doctor who abused countless patients, mixed martial arts, and American surveillance – the subject of Howley’s forthcoming book.

Howley will read at the Crowley Theater at 6 pm on Sunday, March 17th.

Thursday, Mar 7, 2019:
Short-story Writer Deborah Eisenberg

On this episode, Rachel Monroe talks to lauded short-story writer Deborah Eisenberg. Her latest book is Your Duck is My Duck, published in 2018.  

They discuss how Eisenberg started her writing career, her gravitation to the short story form, and the sense of calamity that’s pervasive throughout her writing.

Eisenberg will read at 6 pm at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, March 10th.

Thursday, Feb 28, 2019:
Stephanos Papadopoulos

On this episode, Ian Lewis speaks to Stephanos Papadopoulos, a poet and current fellow at the Lannan Writing Residency in Marfa.

Papadopoulos was born in North Carolina and raised in Paris and Athens. He currently lives in Bend, Oregon. Papadopoulos is the author of three books of poetry, Hotel-Dieu, Lost Days, and The Black Sea. He is also the editor and co-translator of Derek Walcott’s Selected Poems, translated into Greek.

Papadopoulos will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, March 3rd at 6 pm.

Thursday, Feb 21, 2019:
Considering The Past and Present With Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui — a Diné poet from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona — is the author of three poetry collections, Shapeshift, Flood Song, and Dissolve. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

On this episode, the writer talks about his life, the role of poetry, and his influences.

Bitsui is a Lannan resident in Marfa and will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, February 24 at 6 pm.

Thursday, Feb 14, 2019:
Joe Nick Patoski On The Hippies, Pickers, Slackers, And Geeks Who Transformed The Capital Of Texas

On this episode, Marfa Public Radio DJ and writer Joe Nick Patoski talks about his latest book, Austin to ATX. It’s a biography of the city that delves into the hippies, pickers, slackers, and geeks who transformed Austin’s culture.

Patoski will read at 6 pm on Friday, February 15th at the Crowley Theater and at 3 pm on Saturday, February 16th at Front Street Books.

He’ll also host a live “Texas Music Hour of Power” at the radio station on Saturday from 6 to 9 pm. All are invited to come by the station!

Thursday, Feb 7, 2019:
The Challenges For Teachers And Schools In Rural Texas

The 2019 Texas legislative session began last month with the states’ leaders saying they would prioritize the school finance system, maybe even giving teachers an across the board raise.

School districts, especially in rural Texas, are paying attention.

According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas has more schools in rural areas than any other state…but, when it comes to public policy, big cities can dominate the conversation.

So in this series, reporters talked to teachers, administrators and the advocates who support them. We’ll hear about the struggles and successes of rural schools and teachers, and what they say they need from lawmakers in Austin.

Continue reading

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019:
Author Bill Wright On Border Legend Maggie Smith

On this episode, author Bill Wright talks about his latest book, The Whole Damn Cheese. 

The book sheds light on Maggie Smith, a Big Bend woman who built her life along the Rio Grande running trading posts, selling candelilla wax, and fostering relationships with people from both sides of the border.