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(Arizona State University Photo)

PHOENIX -- Arizona has its first state poet laureate.

Gov. Jan Brewer has appointed Professor Alberto Rios of Arizona State University as state poet laureate under legislation she signed into law last year.

According to Brewer's office, the purpose of the appointment is to commemorate Arizona literary artists whose work and service best represent Arizona's values, independence and unique Western history and culture.

Rios is an Arizona native who has taught English at ASU since 1982. He was elevated to regents' professor in 1989.

Brewer said Rios has an affinity for storytelling and will be a strong advocate for poetry.

"I'm confident Mr. Rios will set the bar high as our state's first-ever poet laureate," Brewer said in a statement.

Rios, whose works include 10 books of poetry, has degrees from the University of Arizona.

Associated Press,

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