Alberto Ríos

Andy DeLisle

Alberto Ríos

Friday, May 28, 2021 7:30 pm PST

05/28/2021 7:30 pm 05/28/2021 America/Los_Angeles Alberto Ríos Hugo House—Lapis Theater

At Hugo House—Lapis Theater

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Alberto Ríos is the author of fourteen books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir. He has garnered acclaim as a writer who uses language in lyrical and unexpected ways, containing elements of magical realism, to reflect on his Chicano heritage.

The son of a Mexican father from Tapachula, Chiapas, and an English mother from Warrington, Lancashire, Ríos was raised on the American side of the city of Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border. Growing up in a Spanish-speaking family in a community where he was forced to speak English in school, led Ríos to develop a third language: “Growing up on the cusp of two cultures…undoubtedly influenced and broadened my view of what is possible in the world. For example, Hispanics and a variety of other cultures believe that humans are partners to the world rather than rulers of it. In English, one might say, I dropped the glass, while in Spanish, that same moment might be articulated as, The glass, it fell from me. English assumes human responsibility for the dropped glass, whereas Spanish assumes the glass itself is something of a sentient participant in the action. For me, this allows the world and its ways to be an active and unpredictable part of my work.” Ríos artfully captures this dual awareness in his poetry and prose.

His books of poetry include Not Go Away Is My Name (2020); A Small Story About The Sky (2015); The Dangerous Shirt (2009); The Theater of Night (2006), winner of the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award; The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (2002), a finalist for the National Book Award, all published by Copper Canyon Press; and Whispering to Fool the Wind (Sheep Meadow Press, 1982). His three collections of short stories are The Curtain of Trees (University of New Mexico Press, 1999); Pig Cookies (Chronicle Books, 1995); and The Iguana Killer (University of New Mexico Press, 1998). His memoir, Capirotada (University of New Mexico Press, 1999), about growing up on the Mexico-Arizona border, was designated as the One Book Arizona choice for 2009 and awarded the Latino Literary Hall of Fame Award.

Ríos is the recipient of the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, the Arizona Governors Arts Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Walt Whitman Award, and his poems have been included in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry as well as in over 250 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 hosts the PBS show Art in the 48, which showcases artists and arts organizations in Arizona. He is the Regents Professor at Arizona State University, where he serves as the Katharine C. Turner Endowed Chair in English. In 2013, Ríos was named Arizona’s first poet laureate. He is a former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Event Details

Hugo House—Lapis Theater

1634 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Know Before You Go

Don't have your tickets? Need access to the digital event?

Most tickets have been emailed for Ríos’ in-person event, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from Call us at 206-621-2230 x10 or email us if you can’t find them.

Your e-tickets, which come attached in a PDF with your ticket order confirmation email, will also contain your digital access password. Return to the event page the night of the event at and enter the password where prompted. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. (PDT) and will be available for viewing for a week after the event.

SAL will also send an email the day of the event, containing the same information. If you have opted out of receiving SAL emails, you will miss this important information—please email us at and we will assist you.

Have a question for the speaker?

Want to ask Alberto Ríos something? Send your question to SAL’s Associate Director at—it might be asked on stage!


Open Books will have copies of Ríos’ work available for purchase at their table in the lobby.

The event will conclude with a book signing.

Patrons & Grand Patrons, join us for Happy Hour!

Patrons & Grand Patrons, join us for light bites and wine down the street at The Tin Table (915 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122) from 6:30 to 7:15.

Transportation & Parking

Public transportation: The new Hugo House is a short walk from the Capitol Hill light rail station and the First Hill streetcar (Broadway & Pike-Pine stop), and within a half-mile of many buses, including routes 8, 10, 11, 43, 49, and 60.

Parking: A pay parking lot is available nearby at the Greek Orthodox Church at 13th and Howell, or at Seattle Central College’s Harvard Garage at 1609 Harvard Avenue. Street parking is also available but not guaranteed. The garage beneath Hugo House is for tenants only.


SAL is for everyone. We want all audience members to be able to experience our lectures and readings regardless of accessibility concerns. Accessibility services at our venues are provided at no cost to ticket holders. If you find you need to sit closer to the stage to accommodate your needs but find the cost of a Patron ticket prohibitive, then please contact us—we will seat you where you need to be, regardless of cost.

Open Captioning occurs at every event that takes place at Benaroya Hall. It is also always available upon request for all events in our other halls, including Hugo House, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for Open Captioning services, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Open Captioning” during your ticket checkout process, and we will be in touch with you to confirm details. For digital streams of online events, all pre-recorded and live online events will have either open or closed captioning.

Assistive Listening Devices, including Hearing Loop Assisted Listening Systems at Benaroya Hall, Town Hall, and Hugo House, are available at all of our venues. If you would like more information, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. If you would like more information or to make specific arrangements, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

Gender neutral restrooms are available.

For any further questions or requests, or to offer Seattle Arts & Lectures feedback on how we can be more accessible and inclusive, please reach out to our Patron Services Manager at or 206.621.2230×10.


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