National Writing Project

Rural Voices Radio III

Writing About the Places We Call Home

"Rural Voices Radio captures a spectrum of cadences and tones unique to rural America, documenting the voices and stories that would otherwise remain unrecognized. It is a project of incredible importance."

—Heather Candon,
WERU-FM Production Manager and Youth Radio Coordinator

Rural Voices Radio III is the third in a series of half-hour productions that features students and their teachers reading original poems, stories, and essays about the places we call home. The programs offer an honest and refreshing portrayal of places off the beaten path through the words of emerging writers, some as young as first grade. For students, Rural Voices Radio helps connect writing, reading and speaking; for listeners, the programs are a bridge to new places, perspectives and cultures. Contributions come from teachers and students in western Kentucky, eastern Nevada, the Red River Valley of North Dakota, and the southern Texas border.

The spoken anthology shows the complex nature of rural life, from the lowering boom of a gold mining shaft to the resounding call of a tobacco auctioneer. The third release takes on new territory with the voices of students living along the Texas-Mexico border. Here, listeners will see the Rio Grande through the eyes of children in the languages that they speak in their homes.

With each edition of the Rural Voices Radio series, NWP has sought to celebrate excellence in America's rural schools. Drawing on the tradition of storytelling and oral language, Rural Voices Radio awakens listeners to the richness of heritage and the universal importance of home.

More to come…

NWP offers Rural Voices CDs at no charge to non-commercial radio stations nationwide and provides CDs to educators upon request. The Rural Voices series is also distributed to the nearly 200 local and state writing projects in the national NWP network.

Developing audio programs is recognized by educators to have benefits in strengthening language skills and literacy. They say the CDs inspire student writing, help students understand the concept of voice, and also offer helpful approaches to teaching the social sciences. Because of its teaching value, NWP is now in the process of developing resources and materials that will enable educators to develop audio programs of their own. In winter, 2003—2004, NWP anticipates that a "tool kit" with lessons, teaching guide and other instructional resources will be available to the public.

Praise for Rural Voices Radio

"The [southern Texas] program reflects the magic of the land where cultures and traditions meet and mingle with imagination. These spoken word writings reveal delightful emerging voices and a growing body of literature from [this] special part of the country."
—Maria Emilia Martin, Executive Producer, Latinos USA

"What a great idea! I teach 4th grade in a very rural town in South Carolina. Our kids don't get to experience the 'real world' that much. This would give them a great concept of what it is like to be a real author."
—Kimmy Bost,Swansea, South Carolina

"I am spellbound whenever one of your series aired on public radio. Most recently I heard the Maine segment from RVR II. Bravo!! Thanks for the great project shared."
—Nanci Warner, Seattle

"What a blessing! I accidentally found your website while surfing the Net, or should I say, it found me. "I'll remember Hilo Rain" is EXPECTIONAL on multiple levels. Mahalo nui,"
—Fay Yokomizo Akindes, Assitant Professor, Communication, University of Wisconsin - Parkside

"I teach English at the Saint Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. Next semester I will be teaching a course in the literature of American minorities… I know my students will benefit from your programs."
—Carol Hake, Clayton, Missouri

Listen to a sampler of Rural Voices Radio Volume III below. You can also find the entire series through our podcast channel in iTunes.

 Eastern Kentucky: Sweet Dreams of Home
Beneath the shadows
Of oak and poplar
Emerald light of afternoon
And dusky shadows intertwined.
Hides a lake of periwinkle.

Morgan Mullins

 Northeast Nevada: They Walk the West
Dark sagebrush covers this valley like grandmother's old comforter on the bed...
Dust, the beginning of everything...Dust so dry, withered like an old man's flesh yet so full of life.

Andrew Leahy

 Something Holds Us Here: Writings from the Red River Valley
The dark night air smells like fresh grass.
The breeze hums mantras in the trees.
Blue herons, pintails and wood ducks fly in and out of the water.
The spirit of the place is in the bird calls.

—Jason Yelvington

 Crossings: Border Voices Along the Rio Grande
San Ygnacio, Texas, USA. San Ignacio, Mexico.
Here we have the same trees, grass and animals.
The birds don't know about the border, our "frontera."
Nor do the catfish that feast on sardines in the dark green waters of the Rio Grande.
The catfish don't know why the mojaditos who desperately cross the river trying to find a better life for a couple of dollars more.

Teresa Daniel Moss

© 2023 National Writing Project