Alberto Ríos: Online & Pre-taped

Andy DeLisle

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Alberto Ríos: Online & Pre-taped

Past Event: Friday, May 28, 2021


Although this event has passed, you can still purchase tickets now through Friday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. (PDT). The event will be viewable until 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 5.

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, to reflect on his Chicano heritage. Q&A with Donna Miscolta.

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.

Donna Miscolta, our Q&A moderator for the evening, is the author of three books of fiction. Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories, published in 2020 by Jaded Ibis Press, was hailed by Washington State Book Award winner Sharma Shields as “fiction at its very best: intimate, universal, historical, and relevant as hell to our current era.” Her previous books are Hola and Goodbye, winner of the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman, and When the de la Cruz Family Danced, which poet Rick Barot called “intricate, tender, and elegantly written – a necessary novel for our times.” Recent essays have appeared in Atticus Review, McSweeney’s, and Los Angeles Review. Her work has been supported by grants and fellowships from 4Culture, Artist Trust, Bread Loaf/Rona Jaffe Foundation, Jack Straw Foundation, and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. She has been awarded residencies at Anderson Center, Artsmith, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook, Mineral School, Ragdale, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is working on a new novel as well as a collection of essays about family, identity, and heritage. Find her and her monthly blog at

Event Details

Know Before You Go

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

Most tickets have been emailed for Ríos’ event, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from [email protected]. 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]—it might be asked on stage!


Open Books will have copies of Ríos’ work available for purchase on their website.


Closed Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where captioning displays the words that are spoken or sung at the bottom of the video. Captioning is available for all online events; click the “CC” button to view captions during the event.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals at online events. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at [email protected] or 206.621.2230×10, or select Sign Language Interpretation from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will reach out to you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services for online events, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at [email protected], or Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at 206.621.2230×10. For more accessibility information, please head to


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