Best Poet (2013)

Alberto Rios

We've had a culture crush on Alberto Rios for as long as we can remember, so we were delighted to see the ASU English professor and celebrated author honored with the position as the state's first poet laureate. Rios is a sweet, soft-spoken (both in person and in print) man with roots in Nogales. If anyone "gets" Arizona, it's him. But don't let us tell you that. We'll let Rios' words — from the conclusion of a poem called "In Us This Day" that he wrote on the occasion of former Governor Janet Napolitano's 2003 inauguration — show why he's the best:

We are in a border time,

The border between countries, between centuries,

The border between yesterday and tomorrow,

What we have been and what we are going to be.

We are a state of many languages, many cultures.

We must translate this into a state with many ideas.

Let us choose the best from this treasury of dreams.

Let us create a future

We would want to speak in any language.

We should not try to predict the future —

Instead, let us make it, and let us make it our own.


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