Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios

About Alberto Rios

Alberto Ríos, (Alberto Alvaro Ríos) was born on September 18, 1952 in Nogales, Arizona (United States), is an American poet, writer and university professor. In 2013, Ríos was nominated the Arizona's first Poet Laureate. Since 1981, when he received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for his first poetry collection Whispering Fool the Wind (published in 1982), Alberto Ríos has taken on an important role on the American literature scene and has been the most important Hispanic American author. Ríos has been touted as the Baroque poet of the Southwestern United States, as the most eloquent and lyrical poetic voice in the American language in the 1980s, as the most technically sophisticated and complex poet from the borderlands, such as Lorna Dee Cervantes and Gary Soto. No matter how exaggerated these assessments may seem, Ríos is surely one of the leading voices of the postmodernist era. Alongside his poems, Ríos also became known for his short stories. Bilingual, his poetry encompasses a wide variety of topics, ranging from the vagaries of love to the racial problems of Hispanics in Southwest America. In the poems of The Lime Orchard Woman Sheep (1988), he subtly expresses the interferences between the sphere of the personal and that of the collective, showing the close but hidden relationship between the detail and the universal.
His books of poems include, most recently, "The Dangerous Shirt," along with "The Theater of Night," winner of the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award, "The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body," finalist for the National Book Award, "Teodoro Luna’s Two Kisses," "The Lime Orchard Woman," "The Warrington Poems," "Five Indiscretions," and "Whispering to Fool the Wind," which won the Walt Whitman Award. His three collections of short stories are, most recently, "The Curtain of Trees," along with "Pig Cookies" and The Iguana Killer," which won the first Western States Book Award for Fiction, judged by Robert Penn Warren. His memoir about growing up on the Mexico-Arizona border, called "Capirotada," won the Latino Literary Hall of Fame Award and was designated the OneBookArizona choice for 2009. Ríos is a Regents Professor at Arizona State University, where he has taught since 1982 and where he holds the further distinction of the Katharine C. Turner Endowed Chair in English.  In 2013, he was designated the inaugural Arizona Poet Laureate, and in 2014, he was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. He was appointed director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU in 2017.

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