The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

City, State, Nation: Poets Laureate of the Southwest with Alberto Álvaro Ríos, Rosemarie Dombrowski, Sareya Taylor, Laura Tohe, TC Tolbert

Date(s): Saturday, February 22, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location: 
Old Main, Carson Ballroom, 400 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Type(s): 
Conversation, Panel, Q&A, Reading
Genre and Form(s): Poetry
Cost: Free

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About this Event

Alice Walker once said “Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.” As the 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writer’s Conference draws to a close we hope that our attendees have shifted the ways in which they think about their writing and the power of their words. Whether you are a poet,  a novelist, or are just beginning to choose a path, we want to send everyone off with a final celebration of writing as we hear from some of our most beloved poets laureates of the Southwest.  

City, State, Nation: a reading and conversation with Poets Laureate of the Southwest is Saturday, February 22, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Old Main in the Carson Ballroom (400 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281). Featuring Rosemarie Dombrowski, Alberto Ríos, Sareya Taylor, Laura Tohe, and TC Tolbert.

Please note: this event is open to the public and free. You do not need to register for the conference in order to attend. All RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating information ahead of the event. You do not need to RSVP or register to attend this event.

About the Authors

Piper Center Artistic Director Alberto Álvaro Ríos

Alberto Álvaro Ríos, born in 1952 in Nogales, Arizona, is the author of eleven books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir.  His books of poems include The Dangerous Shirt, The Theater of Night, winner of the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award, along with The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, a finalist for the National Book Award, Teodoro Luna’s Two Kisses, The Lime Orchard Woman, The Warrington Poems, Five Indiscretions, and Whispering to Fool the Wind, winner of the Walt Whitman Award.  His three collections of short stories are, most recently, The Curtain of Trees, along with Pig Cookies and The Iguana Killer.  His memoir about growing up on the Mexico-Arizona border—called Capirotada—won the Latino Literary Hall of Fame Award and was recently chosen as the OneBookArizona selection.

Ríos is host of the Eight, Arizona PBS ground-breaking original production Books & Co., now in its 22nd year on-air, where he provides viewers exclusive access to renowned authors and fresh faces on the literary scene, in intimate conversations with writers offering an unparalleled exploration into the heart and creative process of contemporary literature.

Recently honored with the University of Arizona Outstanding Alumnus Award, Ríos is the recipient of the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Walt Whitman Award, the Western States Book Award for Fiction, six Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction, and inclusion in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, as well as over 300 other 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 is a Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University, where he has taught for over 35 years and where he holds the further distinctions of the Katharine C. Turner Endowed Chair in English and University Professor of Letters. He is Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate and is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Picture of Rosemarie Dombrowski

Rosemarie Dombrowski is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix, AZ, the founding editor of both rinky dink press and The Revolution (Relaunch), a creative revisioning of the weekly women’s rights newspaper founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1868. Her collections include The Book of Emergencies (2014), The Philosophy of Unclean Things (2017), and The Cleavage Planes of Southwest Minerals [A Love Story], winner of the 2017 Split Rock Review chapbook competition. She’s the recipient of a 2017 Arts Hero Award, the Carrie McCray Award in Nonfiction (2017), a fellowship from the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, five Pushcart nominations, and a Whiting Fellowship nomination (2019). Her poem, “Atypical” was named a finalist for the Brooklyn Poets Whitman Bicentennial Poetry Contest.

Photograph of Sareya Taylor

Sareya Taylor (White Mountain Apache/Navajo) is a high school senior attending Perry High School. Sareya’s pronouns are she/her/they/them Sareya is a poet who focuses on the Indigenous peoples of America and the trauma they may have experienced in their lives. Sareya also brings attention to and counters the stereotypes and misrepresentations of Natives that our society’s media and culture supports .

Sareya Taylor is also the president of the Future Inspired Native American Leaders Youth Council, and is active in the FFCLA, Youth Equity Club, and the Native American Club.  

Photograph of Laura Tohe

Laura Tohe is Diné of the Sleepy Rock People clan and is the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate for 2017-2019. A librettist and an award-winning poet, her books include No Parole Today, Making Friends with Water, Sister Nations, Tséyi, Deep in the Rock, and Code Talker Stories.  Her commissioned librettos are Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, for the Phoenix Symphony on the Naxos Classical Music label and Nahasdzáán in the Glittering World for Opera de Rouen made its world premiere in 2019 in France.  She writes essays, stories, and a children’s play that have appeared in the U.S., Canada, and Europe with French, Dutch and Italian translations.  She is the recipient of the 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers’s Award, Joy Harjo & the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund Award, the Dan Schilling Public Scholar Award and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Award.

Photograph of TC Tolbert holding up a micro-zine next to his head for comparison of size and smiling; photography by Shawnte Orion
TC Tolbert identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, mover, and poet. And, s/he’s a human in love with humans doing human things. S/he is author of Gephyromania (Ahsahta Press 2014), five chapbooks, and co-editor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books 2013). TC was recently awarded an Academy of American Poets’ Laureate Fellowship for his work with trans, non-binary, and queer folks as Tucson’s Poet Laureate. S/he will be Writer in Residence at Pratt Institute, 2019-2020. www.tctolbert.com

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