The Arizona Poet Laureate is a Governor’s appointee whose purpose is to champion the art of American poetry, inspire an emerging generation of literary artists and educate Arizonans about poets and authors who have influenced our state through creative literary expression.


Alberto Álvaro Ríos

alberto1“This is a profound honor. A small-town border kid from Nogales to Poet Laureate—this is a good story, an Arizona story. As the state’s first Poet Laureate, the work of inventing this job is now at hand, and I’m very much looking forward to the adventure. The Poet Laureate designation is an important way for Arizona and its people to express a public regard for the well-written word. I would like to be part of that statement, a line in that poem.”

– Alberto Álvaro Ríos, August, 2013

Born and raised in Nogales, Arizona, Alberto Álvaro Ríos earned his BA and MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and holds the esteemed position of Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University. His poetry, stories and autobiographical work have been extensively published for nearly 4 decades. Among many other honors, Ríos has received the Walt Whitman Award in Poetry, the Western States Book Award for Fiction, and the Latino Literary Hall of Fame Award. In 2014, Ríos was elected to the prestigious position of Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

“The Arizona Poet Laureate shall travel to urban and rural communities, visiting the various regions of the state at least once during his/her term and placing an emphasis on outreach to residents who might not otherwise be exposed to quality poetry.

– Senate Bill 1348

Upcoming Poet Laureate Events

While the Arizona Commission on the Arts works to facilitate the scheduling and promotion of the Poet Laureate’s public appearances, such events are organized and presented by other parties. Times, dates, and locations listed below are subject to change without notice. Please contact the organizing body listed under each event to confirm details before attending.


Poet Laureate Event Request Form

Thank you for your interest in the Arizona Poet Laureate. Due to the high volume of requests, the Arts Commission has created the following event request form. The information you provide will be reviewed on a weekly basis and will help the Arizona Poet Laureate field and respond to requests.

Please Note: This form does not guarantee that the Arizona Poet Laureate will be available to meet your request. The selection of your event will be dependent upon the Arizona Poet Laureate’s schedule, the nature of the event, and the availability of funding for his time.

What to consider before submitting an event request:

Funding
As part of the post, Arizona Poet Laureate is not required to attend or speak at events for free. The small annual stipend provided for the post is to cover travel costs related to work on the Poet Laureate’s major literary project. When considering hosting an event, the Arts Commission recommends that you consider some form of compensation for the Poet Laureate’s time. This fee may be negotiated between the requesting organization/school and the Poet Laureate.

Arizona Poet Laureate Travel Honorarium
For requests that require the Arizona Poet Laureate to travel more than 70 miles round trip, the requesting organization/school is responsible for covering travel costs. To determine if your location is more than 70 miles round trip, calculate the round trip map mileage from Arizona State University, Tempe Campus to your event location. As a general guide for determining an adequate travel budget, please refer to the Arizona State Reimbursement Rate Index.

NOTE: This document is provided only as a reference guide for drafting a travel budget. All final travel costs must be discussed with and confirmed by the Arizona Poet Laureate.

Event Date
Please make requests no less than one month in advance. Requests made within one month of the event date will likely not be considered.

Event Length
Requests for the Arizona Poet Laureate’s time over 3 hours will likely not be considered. An event 1.5 hours or shorter is preferred.

Schools
The Poet Laureate is happy to engage with students of all ages. Rather than holding a large school assembly, schools are strongly encouraged to identify and select a small subset of students who demonstrate expressed interest in engaging with the Arizona Poet Laureate.

Please fill out the following information to complete the event request form:

History of the Arizona Poet Laureate

Arizona is home to a wealth of distinguished and diverse literary artists who, through their work and service, represent Arizona’s values, storied history and boundless potential.

The Arizona Poet Laureate is a Governor’s appointee whose purpose is to champion the art of American poetry, inspire an emerging generation of literary artists and educate Arizonans about poets and authors who have influenced our state through creative literary expression.

In 2012, Arizona’s Centennial Year, State Senator Al Melvin sponsored Senate Bill 1348 to establish a Poet Laureate position for the State of Arizona. Senate Bill 1348 received broad bipartisan support in both State Legislative chambers and was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer in May 2012.

Responsibilities and Authority of the Arizona Poet Laureate

The following are the responsibilities and authority of the Arizona Poet Laureate as stated in SB 1348:

The Arizona Poet Laureate shall travel to urban and rural communities, visiting the various regions of the state at least once during his/her term and placing an emphasis on outreach to residents who might not otherwise be exposed to quality poetry.

The Arizona Poet Laureate shall offer a minimum of 4 public readings per year and undertake a major literary project (identified and implemented in consultation with the Arts Commission) during his/her term with the goal of educating residents about poetry and literary arts.