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

Feb 08 2018
Craft Talk: Khaled Mattawa
Khaled Mattawa, author of the scholarly study Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation, as well as the author of four volumes of poetry, translator of nine volumes of poetry, and editor of two anthologies of Arab American Literature, concludes his two-week residency at the University of Arizona Poetry Center with a craft talk.
1508 E. Helen St.
85719 Tucson, Arizona

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Poetry in Arizona
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...


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
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,
Yellow-oatmeal flowers of the windmill palms 
like brains lashed to fans-
even they think of cool paradise, 

Not this sterile air-conditioned chill 
or the Arizona hell in which they sway becomingly. 
Every time I return to Phoenix I see these palms 

as a child’s height marks on a kitchen wall, 
taller now