Richard Shelton (writer)

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Richard Shelton (born 1933, Boise, Idaho) is an Arizona writer, poet and emeritus Regents Professor of English at the University of Arizona. He has written nine books of poetry; his first collection of poems, The Tattooed Desert, won the International Poetry Forum's U.S. Award.[1] His 1992 memoir Going Back to Bisbee, a New York Times Notable Book[2] was selected for the One Book Arizona [3] program in 2007. Shelton also won the Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1992 [4] for Going Back to Bisbee. In 2000, Shelton received a $100,000 grant from the Lannan Foundation to complete two books.[1]

His poems and prose pieces have appeared in more than two hundred magazines and journals including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and The Antioch Review. They have been translated into Spanish, French, Swedish, Polish, and Japanese.

In 1974, Shelton established a writer's workshop at the Arizona State Prison, and a number of books of prose and poetry written by men in Shelton's prison workshops have been published, including the writing of authors Jimmy Santiago Baca and Ken Lamberton.[5] Shelton is currently directing three prison writer's workshops in three units of the Arizona State Prison. His latest book, Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer is about this experience. It won the 2007 Southwest Books of the Year award.[6]


  1. ^ a b Richard Shelton Receives Major Lannan Foundation Award
  2. ^ Notable Books of the Year 1993
  3. ^ One Book Arizona 2007
  4. ^ Western States Book Awards
  5. ^ Menlove, Mark (February 6, 2008). "You can't take Boise out of the man". Boise Weekly. 16 (32): 33. The book also celebrates the success of a number of Shelton's prison proteges, such as Jimmy Santiago Baca and Ken Lamberton, now highly acclaimed writers known for their words instead of their crimes.
  6. ^ 'Crossing the Yard' wins acclaim of every panelist, Arizona Daily Star, published 12.17.2007

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