Texas Standard for Dec. 25, 2023: Our staff favorites of the year

The Texas Standard staff is reflecting on some of our favorite stories from this year. Enjoy!

By Texas StandardDecember 25, 2023 8:30 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, Dec. 25, 2023:

For ire’ne lara silva, 2023 Texas State Poet Laureate, poetry is a necessity

Since 1932, Texas has been designating poets laureate, a prestigious honor now extended to artists and musicians as well.

This year, Austin’s ire’ne lara silva was chosen as the poet laureate, reflecting her literary accomplishments. Joining us in the Texas Standard studios in August, ire’ne shed light on the significance of being a poet laureate, delved into her latest work, “FirstPoems,” and more.

A few of our favorite things

Texas Standard staffers share what we’ve enjoyed about working on the show in 2023:

James Beard’s best chef in Texas wants diners to feel ‘like you walked into my grandma’s house’

Houston is known as having one of the best culinary scenes in the country. This year, the James Beard Award for best Texas chef went to a Houstonian: Chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter, of local Thai restaurant “Street to Kitchen.”

She joined the Standard in June for a mouth-watering chat.

‘Cemetery Birding’ highlights why hobbyists are flocking to cemeteries across Texas

They’re intended as final resting places, but they’re surprisingly active sites for a certain group of hobbyists.

The Standard’s Raul Alonzo met up with “Cemetery Birding” author Jennifer Bristol in October at – where else? – a cemetery and shared this report.

Are Texans ready to live in bear country?

Relatively speaking, bears only recently disappeared from Texas. Their history here stretches back thousands – or possibly millions – of years. But hunters and ranchers effectively eradicated them from the state by about 1950. In recent years, though, black bears have started to re-colonize parts of West Texas.

Will Texans co-exist with them any better this time around? The Texas Standard’s Michael Marks reported in August.

The Texas women shaping the sound and image of outlaw country

Outlaw country, born in the 1970s, often brings to mind names like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. But female artists have been making noteworthy contributions, especially recently.

In September, the Standard delved into the changing role of women in outlaw country with Texas Highways’ Natalie Weiner, author of the article “Honky-tonk Heroines: The Texas Women of Outlaw Country Break the Rules Their Own Way.”

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