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Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a multi-genre writer whose work examines the individual versus / and against public bodies, and how mental and physical health co-exist and respond to the health of our social environment and communities. Using the lens of social justice, and using art as a tool for social change and dissent, her work examines issues that include the stigma of living with mental illness, trauma and sexual assault, sex trafficking, sexism / machismo, the oppression of non-white communities and xenophobia, all from the perspective of survivors and those categorized as Other. She is interested in documenting lived experiences and narratives that are not usually heard or considered with great care for an audience that expands outside the elite racially-homogenous literary community. 

Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in in PANK, Verse Daily, Rogue Agent, The Collagist, Catapult, The Texas Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. Her work was named a finalist for the 2018 Joy Harjo Poetry Competition for Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. Her new collection of poems, Nightbloom & Cenote (St. Julian Press, May 2018), was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize, judged by Ilya Kaminsky. 

She is the author of Fuego, and was a finalist for the 2018 Houston Poet Laureate. Her fiction will be included in the Houston Noir anthology, edited by Gwendolyn Zepeda (Akashic Press, 2019). She is currently a poetry editor at Four Way Review, and works as a lecturer at the University of Houston. She is a graduate of The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and earned a bachelor's at Rice University.