Biography of Alberto Ríos
Alberto Álvaro Ríos (born 1952 in Nogales, Arizona) is the author of ten books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir. 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 the recipient of the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, the Arizona Governor's Arts Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Walt Whitman Award, the Western States Book Award for Fiction, six Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction, and inclusion in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, as well as over 300 other national and international literary anthologies. His work is regularly taught and translated, and has been adapted to dance and both classical and popular music.
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 August 2013 Rios was named Arizona's first state poet laureate, a position he holds until 2015.
Alberto Ríos Poems
When Giving Is All We Have
One river gives Its journey to the next. We give because someone gave to us.
In the old days of our family, My grandmother was a young woman Whose hair was as long as the river. She lived with her sisters on the ranch
The Cities Inside Us
We live in secret cities And we travel unmapped roads. We speak words between us that we recognize
Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses
Mr. Teodoro Luna in his later years had taken to kissing His wife Not so much with his lips as with his brows. This is not to say he put his forehead
Day Of The Refugios
In Mexico and Latin America, celebrating one's Saint's day instead of one's birthday is common.
When There Were Ghosts
On the Mexico side in the 1950s and 60s, There were movie houses everywhere
We Dogs Of A Thursday Off
The wine of uncharted days, Their unsteady stance against the working world,
The Chair She Sits In
I've heard this thing where, when someone dies, People close up all the holes around the house—
Perfect for Any Occasion
1. Pies have a reputation. And it's immediate—no talk of potential
A Yellow Leaf
A yellow leaf in the branches Of a shamel ash In the front yard;
A Small Story about the Sky
The fire was so fierce, So red, so gray, so yellow That, along with the land,
The Cities Inside Us
We live in secret cities
And we travel unmapped roads.
We speak words between us that we recognize
But which cannot be looked up.
They are our words.
They come from very far inside our mouths.