University of Arizona graduate Alberto Álvaro Ríos has been named Arizona's first poet laureate.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts and Governor Jan Brewer announced Ríos' appointment earlier this week.

Ríos, who earned undergraduate degrees in literature and psychology, and his master's in creative writing from the UA, has published 10 books of poetry and three books of stories.

He also published, a memoir, "Capirotada," about growing up in Nogales, Ariz., and often is a guest reader at the UA Poetry Center.

"This is a profound honor," Ríos said in a release.

"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."

Ríos is a regents professor at Arizona State University, where he teaches English and creative writing.

With his appointment, Arizona becomes the 43rd state to have a poet or writer laureate position.

Poet laureates are charged with promoting American poetry, particularly works by poets from the state, and inspiring others to write and read poetry.

Ríos reading

A video of an Alberto Ríos reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center can be found at

Kathleen Allen