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Arizona’s First Poet Laureate Alberto Ríos to Speak at Pima Community College

TUCSON, AZ – The public is invited to listen to native Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Ríos, who will bring his talents to Pima Community College's Downtown Campus for his "What Makes for Good Poetry" discussion. Rios is the keynote speaker for this year's John Updike Society Conference. Ríos will follow the talk with a reading of his own.

What: 7th Biennial John Updike Society Conference
When: Friday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Amethyst Room, Pima Community College's Downtown Campus, 1255 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85709

Pima Foundation is a co-sponsor of the event and will have books available for purchase and signing afterward.

John Updike, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, was one of the great American writers of the 20th century. He is best known for his Rabbit series Couples and The Witches of Eastwick. Between 2004 and 2009, Updike and his wife lived in Tucson for five months each year. His novel "S" was set in an Arizona ashram.

The Updike in Tucson conference is co-directed by Tucson resident Jan Emery and Robert Luscher of Phoenix, an Updike Society board member.

"Most people tend to overlook Updike's poetry because his fiction was so high-profile,” Luscher said. "Though he began by writing light verse and never lost that interest, he also was serious enough about poetry to publish nine collections." To shine a light on the poetry, the society decided to feature Ríos as their keynote speaker. Like Updike, Ríos is an award-winning writer who has published both fiction and poetry.

About Laureate Alberto Ríos:

Laureate Alberto Rios, Arizona's first poet, is the author of 13 books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir. The son of a Mexican father from Tapachula, Chiapas, and an English mother from Warrington, England, Ríos grew up on the American side of the city of Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border. He is the recipient of the Arizona Governor's Arts Award, Walt Whitman Award, Western States Book Awards for Fiction, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, he holds an endowed professorship at Arizona State University.

About the John Updike Society:

The John Updike Society is a 501c3 nonprofit with an international membership. To attend this conference, members will travel from the Republic of Serbia, France, Ireland, Japan, India, Brazil, the Republic of Georgia, China, and 15 U.S. states. Membership is open to everyone with an interest in Updike, who is best known for Rabbit, Run, and other Fiction set in his native Pennsylvania. Previous conference locations and keynote speakers included Reading, Pa. (Ann Beattie), Boston, Mass. (Joyce Carol Oates), Columbia, S.C. (Garrison Keillor), and Belgrade, Serbia (Ian McEwan).


James Plath,
Jan Emery,
Robert Luscher,

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