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Word S8.8 — 'Fest-of-Us'

By Tom Maxedon
Published: Tuesday, December 20, 2022 - 5:05am
Updated: Friday, December 30, 2022 - 12:19am

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On this edition of Word, it's a season-ender bender with highlights spanning the entire run-of-show.

Presented as a gathering around a digital campfire so to speak, we celebrate the contributors, writers, listeners and donors who have kept this show going for nearly four years.

This special episode starts with a snippet from its October 2016 debut on KPRG-Public Radio Guam, the U.S. Territory in the Western Pacific, “Where America’s Day Begins.” 

The show was eventually rebooted from a broadcast entity into a podcast after I came to KJZZ. The first episode dropped in February 2019 .


Tomas Stanton – National Haiku Writing Month / KJZZ Haiku Contest

(S1.2) – Feb. 8, 2019

A Valley spoken word artist, educator and co-creator of Phonetic Spit, talks about building literacy and communication skills for kids in the region, as well as haiku.

Kyrene Middle School Field TripKid Lit and Bringing a Book to Market

(S2.2) – Sept. 25, 2019

Budding young writers from the Valley get the skinny on how Arizona authors bring their works to market.   

Sharon Suzuki-Martinez – Climate Fiction, COVID-19 and AAPI Month

(S3.9) – May 14, 2020

A Tempe-based writer and poet of Okinawan descent who grew up living in Hawai’i for many years before coming to Arizona talks about the “ghost ocean” of the Phoenix basin.

NPR’s Scott Simon – The Art of Essay Writing and Trying

(S4.7) – Dec. 18, 2020

NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday host discusses his process and inspiration for writing essays featured on the show.

Dr. Tamika Sanders – National Poetry Month

(S5.6) – Apr. 28, 2021

Valley poet, education consultant, professor and owner of Savvy Pen offers the ABC's of finding one's voice through the power of poetry that can change for better the narrative of what it means to be part of the American story. She also performs her poem, “Black Lives Matter.”

Tom Vitale – Wanderlust

(S6.3) – Oct. 12, 2021

The TV production guru-turned-biographer who worked closely with Anthony Bourdain on about 100 episodes of his shows reminisces about the celebrated chef.

Sean Ellis – Ghostwriting

(S7.6) – May 3, 2022

Despite numerous novels to his own named credit, Ellis describes his fortuitous foray into ghostwriting for some well-known fiction writers.

Linda Ronstadt – What Feels Like Home

(S8.6) – Nov. 22, 2022

One of Arizona’s iconic daughters and musicians talks unflinchingly about the border, growing up a child of Mexican immigrants and the food of Sonora as presented in her memoir, "Feels Like Home," which includes stories, photos and recipes.


Portions of Word have been nominated for Edward R. Murrow and Public Media Journalists Association Awards and is made possible, in part, by the generous support from KJZZ members who give monthly sustaining contributions of $10, $20 or even $50 per month to sustain the quality non-biased news, information and entertaining programming.

If you’re not already a sustaining member of public radio, please consider a gift of support in the amount that best fits your budget before the year closes out.

We’ll be back with Season 9 and the annual KJZZ Haiku Writing Contest in early February 2023.

Happy “Fest-of-Us”!