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.  

In December 2016, Rosemarie Dombrowski was named the first poet laureate of Phoenix, Arizona. She will serve a two-year term.

upcoming events

date
Dec 01 2017
#PoetryNearYou Pick of the Week: Sandra Cisneros, Rita Dove, and Joy Harjo
Three literary legends come together on December 1, 2017, 7 p.m., at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ, to read from their own writing, as well as to discuss and celebrate the respective and collective impacts of their work over the years. This event is presented in partnership with ArchiTEXTS: A Conversation Across Languages with Natalie Diaz. 
 
Seating for this event in Whiteman Hall is now SOLD OUT.  There may be limited additional seating in Whiteman Hall on the night of the event on a first come, first served basis, to be released 5 minutes before the event starts. Additionally, 200 overflow seats and a live feed video system will be set up in the Great Hall adjacent to Whiteman Hall for those without seats in the auditorium. 
 
Readings in Phoenix are presented in collaboration with the Phoenix Art Museum and with support from lead sponsor the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, with additional support from the ASU Creative Writing Program, the Literary & Prologue Society, and Superstition Review. 
 
 

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, and an activist. Writing for over 50 years, her work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and prose, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary degrees, national and international book awards, and most recently Chicago's Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the National Medal of Arts presented to her by President Obama at the White House. Her classic coming-of-age novel, The House on Mango Street has sold over six million copies, has been translated into more than twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and university curricula across the U.S. Founder of awards and foundations that serve writers and a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Sandra Cisneros earns her living by her pen. 

Former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar as one of the one hundred top high school graduates in the nation that year, she received her MFA in 1977 from the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, where she was the only African American student at the time. From 1981 to 1989 she taught creative writing at Arizona State University - the final two years as the first and only African-American full professor in ASU's English Department. 
 
In 1989 Rita Dove joined the University of Virginia, where she continues to hold the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English. The recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Thomas and Beulah, a book she wrote while teaching at ASU, she has numerous other literary works to her credit, among them Sonata Mulattica (2009), a poetic treatise on the life of 19th century violinist George Bridgetower, as well as sole editorship of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). Her drama The Darker Face of the Earth premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1996, followed by productions at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Royal National Theatre in London and many other venues. The Boston Symphony debuted her song cycle "Seven for Luck," with music by John Williams, under the composer's baton in 1998.
 
Rita Dove's most recent book, Collected Poems 1974-2004, received the 2017 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. Among her many other honors are the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton (making her the only poet with both national medals) and 25 honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Letters from Arizona State University in 1995. 
 
Joy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy BeingsHow We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music including the award-winning album Red DreamsA Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 

To be considered for #PoetryNearYou Pick of the Week, we invite you to become a registered user of Poets.org and use our online calendar Poetry Near You to promote local events in your community.

 

7:00pm
1625 N. Central Ave
85004-1685 Phoenix, Arizona

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Alberto Ríos
Arizona poet laureate

Alberto Ríos

Born in 1952, Alberto Ríos is the inaugural state poet laureate of Arizona and the author of many poetry collections, including  A Small Story about...

poems

poem
A story: There was a cow in the road, struck by a semi--
half-moon of carcass and jutting legs, eyes
already milky with dust and snow, rolled upward

as if tired of this world tilted on its side.
We drove through the pink light of the police cruiser,
her broken flank blowing steam in the air. 

Minutes later, a
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
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