Richard (he/him) lives in Tucson, Arizona where he reads, writes poetry and fiction, attends and teaches writing workshops at The Writers Studio, and works for HiRISE, a team in the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona with a camera in orbit around Mars onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Photograph of Richard Leis in HiRISE office wearing a black and cyan "I love Pluto" t-shirt

Richard’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published multiple times in Impossible Archetype, in addition to The Laurel ReviewManzano Mountain Review, HiRISE’s MarsPoetica, and Star*Line. His fiction has been published in The House of Zolo’s Journal of Speculative Literature and is forthcoming in the Coppice & Brake anthology from Crone Girls Press. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published online at Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files.”

Richard earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 2015. Following that, he began taking writing workshops at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and The Writers Studio Tucson. Richard now teaches writing workshops and is a Tucson Poetry Festival board member. He routinely participates in the various NYC Midnight fiction writing challenges and in National/Global Poetry Writing Month, StoryADay, and National Novel Writing Month.

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Pushcart Prize XLV Nomination

Nominated for poem published in 2019

Shadow Award 2019

Short listed for “Burning Baby” and “The Pretty Men”

Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards

Finalist in 2018, semi-finalist in 2019 and 2020

The Writers Studio 4th Annual Write-to-Read Contest (2018)

3rd Place for “Coward’s Unsent Query Letter Including Chapter Summary of Memoir Not Written”
Judge: Alice Hatcher

The Writers Studio 3rd Annual Write-to-Read Contest (2017)

1st Place for “These Are the Animals You May Eat”
Judge: Ted McLoof

2014 Hattie Lockett Undergraduate Student Poetry Award

One of three winners for “He can wear hats,” “The Talents,” and “The Divorce of Lilith and Samuel”
Judge: Karen Brennan
Learn more about Hattie Greene Lockett


Tucson Poetry Festival

Board Member beginning November 2019.

Horror Writers Association (HWA)

Supporting Member beginning 2019.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA)

Lifetime Member as of 2019. Member 2016 – present.


Tucson Festival of Books Masters Workshop

2019 Poetry Instructor: Marilyn Chin
2018 Poetry Instructor: Mary Jo Bang

The Writers Studio Tucson

The Writers Studio provides local and online writer workshops that focus on persona writing and narrative technique. There is a chapter in Tucson. Completed Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master workshops and craft classes (2016 – present)
Instructors: Lela Scott MacNeil, Philip Ivory, Janelle Drumwright, and Reneé Bibby

The University of Arizona Poetry Center

The University of Arizona Poetry Center provides a library and archive of poetry as well as readings and other literary events, including community workshops and craft classes, at the Helen S. Schaefer Building. Completed various workshops in poetry and screenwriting:

The University of Arizona English Department

B.A. Degree in English & Creative Writing (December 2015)
Instructors: Laura MillerJoshua Marie Wilkinson, Brianna Scott MacNeil, Joel SmithKate Bernheimer, Susan Briante, Brent Hendricks, Kendra Mullison, and Farid Matuk

Critters Workshop

Member on and off since 1997.