Arizona

Under a law signed in 2012 as part of Arizona's centennial year of statehood, Alberto Ríos was appointed the inaugural state poet laureate by Governor Jan Brewer on August 19, 2013. Throughout his two-year year term, Ríos will "champion the art of American poetry, inspire an emerging generation of literary artists and educate Arizonans of all ages about the countless writers who have positively influenced our beautiful state,” said Governor Brewer. He is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.  

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Poetry in Arizona
Alberto Ríos
Arizona poet laureate

Alberto Ríos

Born in 1952, Alberto Ríos is the author of several collections of poetry and was the recipient of the 1981 Walt Whitman Award

poems

poem
Dear Saint Patrick, this is Peggy,
Or maybe it's Pegeen to you,
Well, I'm really Stella Mae.
Peggy's my nickname,
But anyway, will you please tell me
What to do about the rattlesnake
That's in my room?
I know it's there,
But I can't find it anywhere I search.
I've ransacked the closet more than once,
Because
poem
      In Mexico and Latin America, celebrating one's
      Saint's day instead of one's birthday is common.


I was born in Nogales, Arizona,
On the border between 
Mexico and the United States.

The places in between places
They are like little countries
Themselves, with their own holidays

Taken a
poem
We stand on the edge, the fall
into depth, the ascent

of light revelatory, the canyon walls moving
up out of

shadow, lit
colours of the layers cutting

down through darkness, sunrise as it 
passes a

precipitate of the river, its burnt tangerine 
flare brief, jagged

bleeding above the far rim for a split