An Arizona native and English professor at Arizona State University has been named Arizona's first poet laureate.
Alberto Rios was appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer under a law signed last year as part of Arizona's centennial year of statehood.
"Mr. Rios' work has been extensively published and widely celebrated for nearly four decades," Brewer said. "His affinity and talent for storytelling, whether through writing or performing, will make him a strong advocate for poetry in Arizona."
Rios is expected to champion the art of American poetry throughout Arizona. He will provide outreach and education about influential Arizona poets and inspire Arizona's emerging literary artists, according to a news release from Brewer's office. The appointment helps commemorate the work and service that best represents Arizona's values, independence and unique Western history and culture, according to the release.
Arizona is the 43rd state to establish a poet laureate.
Rios has taught English at ASU since 1982 and in 1989 became a regents' professor, the highest faculty rank attainable in the university system.
He has written 10 books of poetry, three books of stories and a personal memoire of his upbringing in Nogales.
He has a bachelor of fine arts and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Arizona.
Rios has been recognized with six Pushcart Prizes in poetry and fiction; the American Academy of Poets' Walt Whitman Award in Poetry; the Western Literature Association's Distinguished Achievement award; the Arizona Literary Treasure award; the Governor's Arts Award; and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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