Alberto Alvaro Rios

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Alberto Alvaro Ríos was born on September 18, 1952, in Nogales, Arizona. He received a BA degree in 1974 and an MFA in creative writing in 1979, both from the University of Arizona. Ríos has authored numerous books of poetry and prose, including Not Go Away is My Name (Copper Canyon Press, 2020); The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2002), which was nominated for the National Book Award; Whispering to Fool the Wind (Sheep Meadow Press, 1982), which won the 1981 Walt Whitman Award selected by Donald Justice; and the novel The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart (Blue Moon and Confluence Press, 1984), which won the Western States Book Award. He holds numerous awards, including six Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction, the Arizona Governor's Arts Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1994 he has been Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he has taught since 1982. In 2013, Ríos was named the inaugural state poet laureate of Arizona. He served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2014 to 2020. In 2017, he was appointed as the new director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.  Source

Don't Go Into the Library

The library is dangerous—

Don’t go in. If you do

 

You know what will happen.

It’s like a pet store or a bakery—

 

Every single time you’ll come out of there

Holding something in your arms.

 

Those novels with their big eyes.

And those no-nonsense, all muscle

 

Greyhounds and Dobermans,

All non-fiction and business,

 

Cuddly when they’re young,

But then the first page is turned.

 

The doughnut scent of it all, knowledge,

The aroma of coffee being made

 

In all those books, something for everyone,

 

The deli offerings of civilization itself.

 

The library is the book of books,

Its concrete and wood and glass covers

 

Keeping within them the very big,

Very long story of everything.

 

The library is dangerous, full

Of answers. If you go inside,

 

You may not come out

The same person who went in.

Published:

2017

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Children's

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Education & Learning

Humor & Satire

Literary Devices:

Caesura

a break between words within a metrical foot

Couplets

two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit

Imperative

an instruction or a command

Irony

the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect

Metaphor

a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Personification

the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing