Alberto Ríos

Alberto Ríos: A Celebrated Poet and Storyteller

Alberto Ríos, an acclaimed writer, weaves language into lyrical and unexpected forms, enchanting readers with his poems and short stories. His works reflect his Chicano heritage and incorporate elements of magical realism. Ríos developed a unique “third language” as a result of growing up in a Spanish-speaking family while being forced to speak English in school. Through his magical storytelling and poetic prowess, Ríos creates a bridge between cultures, bringing forth vivid portrayals of life on the border. His collections, such as “Whispering to Fool the Wind” and “Five Indiscretions,” showcase his ability to infuse magical realism into verse and explore gender issues. Ríos’s talent extends beyond poetry, as seen in his award-winning book of short stories, “The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart,” and subsequent collections.

He captures the luminous world of his childhood and border culture, mesmerizing readers with tales that border on the metafictional and magical realism. Ríos’s profound sensitivity and attention to detail breathe life into characters from small towns along the Arizona-Mexico border, transporting readers to another era. In his captivating memoir, “Capirotada: A Nogales Memoir,” Ríos invites readers into his personal history and shares poignant anecdotes and finely drawn landscapes. With works like “The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body,” Ríos delves into childhood experiences, employing vivid imagery and evocative metaphors. While Ríos’s writing is rooted in his Chicano heritage, it transcends boundaries, celebrating the diversity and power of community. As a revered educator, Ríos imparts his wisdom to students at Arizona State University and serves as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In recognition of his contributions to literature, Ríos was appointed Arizona’s first poet laureate in 2013.