Alberto Ríos Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although primarily known for his poetry, Alberto Ríos (REE-ohs) has also gained critical acclaim for his short-story collections, The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart (1984), Pig Cookies (1995), and The Curtain of Trees (1999). He is also the author of Capirotada: A Nogales Memoir (1999), which details his experience growing up on the Mexico-United States border.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Alberto Ríos’s poetry has been honored with several awards and nominations. The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Theater of Night won the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award, an honor given to an author of color whose work contributes to the ethnic diversity of literature, and Whispering to Fool the Wind earned the Walt Whitman Award from the Poetry Society of American in 1981. Ríos’s poetry is consistently anthologized and has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry as well as in more than two hundred national and international anthologies. Ríos received the Western States Book Award for his short-story collection The Iguana Killer and six Pushcart Prizes for both fiction and poetry. Capirotada won the Latino Literary Hall of Fame award and was additionally honored as the One Book Arizona choice for 2009. Ríos was the recipient of the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award (2002), the Arizona Historical League lifetime achievement award (2005), the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Logue, Mary. Review of Whispering to Fool the Wind, by Alberto Ríos. Village Voice Literary Supplement, October, 1982. This extended review was among the first to explore Ríos’s talents and is still the best.

Ríos, Alberto. “Words Like the Wind: An Interview with Alberto Ríos.” Interview by William Barillas. Américas Review 24 (Fall/Winter, 1996). An insightful interview with Ríos.

Ullman, L. “Solitaries and Storytellers, Magicians and Pagans: Five Poets in the World.” Kenyon Review 13 (Spring, 1991). Reviews Ríos’s Teodoro Luna’s Two Kisses.

Wild, Peter. Alberto Ríos. Boise, Idaho: Boise State University Press, 1998. Part of the Western Writers series. A brief introduction to the author’s work.