Leslie Contreras Schwartz

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Poet Laureate of Houston, Texas, 2019-2021

Leslie Contreras Schwartz was born in Houston, Texas, with Mexican American and Mexican roots going back several generations in Texas. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Rice University and is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Contreras Schwartz’s fourth book, Black Dove / Paloma Negra (FlowerSong Press, 2020) was named a finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters in 2020. She is also the author of Fuego (St. Julian Press, 2016); Nightbloom & Cenote (SJP, 2018), a semi-finalist for the 2017 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize, judged by Ilya Kaminsky; and Who Speaks for Us Here (Skull + Wind Press, 2020).

A member of the Macondo Writers’ Collective, Contreras Schwartz works in communities, teaching writing workshops and creating art-making and storytelling opportunities. She is currently a faculty member in Alma College’s MFA low-residency program in creative writing. She served as the poet laureate of Houston from 2019 to 2021 and received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship in 2021.