MFA in Creative Writing

Leslie Contreras Schwartz

Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and the 2019-2021 Houston Poet Laureate. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Black Dove / Paloma Negra (FlowerSong Press, 2020), which was named a finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for 2020 Best Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters, Fuego (St. Julian Press, 2016) and Nightbloom & Cenote (SJP, 2018), a semi-finalist for the 2017 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize, judged by Ilya Kaminsky. She is a proud disabled poet and community activist; her poet laureate community work includes writing a workshop resource book on poetry for healing, storytelling and mental wellness, and overseeing murals from COVID communal poems she curated from Houstonian’s submitted poems.

Her work has appeared in Catapult, Missouri Review, Iowa Review, [PANK], Verse Daily, Pleiades, Zocalo Public Square, and Xicanx: 21 Mexican American Writers of the 21st Century (University of Arizona, 2022), edited by ire’ne lara silva, among other publications. She is a member of the Macondo Writers’ Collective.

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