Leslie Contreras Schwartz

Leslie Contreras Schwartz (Poetry) | Houston, TX

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Leslie Contreras Schwartz teaches writing workshops in poetry and personal essay at Inprint Houston and Writespace. Her poetry has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Southern Women’s Review, Storyscape Literary Journal, Improbable Worlds: An Anthology of Texas and Louisiana Poets by Mutabilis Press, and is forthcoming in Tinderbox Literary Journal and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. Her personal essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, Houston Chronicle, The Toast, Ozy, and Dame Magazine.


Fuego (Saint Julian Press, 2016). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“Leslie Contreras Schwartz doesn’t use words to smooth over life’s edges. Instead, she writes about the jagged parts directly: the struggle of difficult pregnancies, the trials and joys of motherhood, the horrors she saw in her students’ lives when she briefly taught fourth grade. (This is) a collection of clear, crisp poems that tangle directly with the stuff of life.”
Houston Chronicle

Fuego is full of fire, of the passionate intensity of creation in the face of great odds—the intensity of difficult pregnancies and childbirth and all-consuming motherhood, of the immigrant student who struggles to write his first sentences in English, the child who falls from her bike and gets up again and again, the long-distance swimmer trying to swim to Antarctica, all of them stand-ins, I think, for the artist who struggles to make something meaningful from language in the midst of life, which is to say in the midst of death. This Leslie Contreras Schwartz has done in her debut collection, and hers is a distinctive and welcome new voice in American poetry.”
–Susan Wood, Gladys Louise Fox Professor Emerita of English at Rice University, author of Asunder, National Poetry Series selection 2001

“Leslie Contreras Schwartz’s Fuego is filled with the power of things: floods that bring both destructive power and promise of new life, televisions that bring awful news, a small child’s naming of clouds. Like Plath’s most tender poems, Schwartz’s debut collection uses the minutiae of everyday living to create a world where even in the darkest times, light finds a way to come “from under / the shade, / light from under / the door.”
–Amanda Auchter, author of The Wishing Tomb, winner of 2013 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry

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