Standing at the edge of a desert, surveying the stars on a December morning, the speaker in this poem observes the everything of everything. He is so small; the universe is so loud and so silent. Thinking about the enormity of all this, he thinks of the smallness of the hearts of birds, wasps, moths, bats, and dragonflies — all flying things around him, suspended in space, like the earth is suspended in space. His own heart, too, echoes the universe’s noise.
Alberto Ríos is Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate and a recent chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, as well as the author of twelve collections of poetry, most recently, Not Go Away Is My Name. Published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other journals, he has also written three short story collections and a memoir, Capirotada, about growing up on the Mexican border. Ríos is also the host of the PBS programs Art in the 48 and Books & Co. University Professor of Letters, Regents’ Professor, Virginia G. Piper Chair in Creative Writing, and the Katharine C. Turner Chair in English, Ríos has taught at Arizona State University since 1982.
Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
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