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Steven and Reefka Schneider author's photo

Steven P. Schneider

Steven P. Schneider is professor of Creative Writing and Literature and Cultural Studies at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is co-creator with his artist wife Reefka of the traveling exhibit and book Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives / Fronteras: dibujando las vidas fronterizas, a bilingual collection of twenty-five of his poems (in English and Spanish) and twenty-five of his wife Reefka's drawings about people who live and work along the U.S.-Mexico border. The book was featured in the 2010 Texas Book Festival and Miami Book Fair International.

Steven is a founding member of the South Texas Literacy Coalition and has been an advisory council member of the Texas Book Festival for many years. He coordinates their Reading Rock Stars program in South Texas during FESTIBA, a week-long festival of the arts and humanities at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He has used the Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives / Fronteras: dibujando las vidas fronterizas traveling exhibit to promote the teaching of culturally relevant literature and creativity. Steven is a popular presenter at schools and colleges and offers a variety of workshops on these topics to both high school and college students and teachers.

Steven is the author of several collections of poetry, including Prairie Air Show and Unexpected Guests. His poems have been featured in numerous anthologies and published in Critical Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, and in the syndicated column and website "American Life in Poetry." He is the author of A.R. Ammons and the Poetics of Widening Scope and the editor of Complexities of Motion: New Essays on A.R. Ammons's Long Poems and The Contemporary Narrative Poem: Critical Crosscurrents. His awards include a Poetry Fellowship and residency from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico, a Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship and three Big Read community literacy grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Steven Schneider has given readings throughout the United States, including public performances at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, the Fort Kearny Writers' Conference, the UTPA Summer Creative Writing Institute, and the SMU-in-Taos summer lecture series. He has also been interviewed and read his work on NETV.

Reefka Schneider

Reefka is one of the foremost artists of "la frontera," the binational region of the Rio Grande Valley. She is co-creator of the highly acclaimed traveling exhibit Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives / Fronteras: dibujando las vidas fronterizas, published as a book by Wings Press in 2010. Drawings from Borderlines were featured in the book Writing Towards Hope: The Literature of Human Rights in Latin America (Yale University Press), as well as in the Afro-Hispanic Review (Vanderbilt University Press), The Texas Observer and The Hispanic Outlook.

Yvonamor Palix, international art curator, likens Reefka's Borderlines drawings to the work of Francisco Zuniga, noting "Although similar in subject matter, his works do not portray these characters in such a human and real manner." Carmen Tafolla, poet-laureate of San Antonio, notes that "her drawings leave the reader entranced by the exquisite beauty of truth." And Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street, says Reefka's "border portraits caught my eye when I first saw them ... ordinary folks rendered with love, compassion, and intimacy." Ed Conroy, in his review of Borderlines in The San Antonio Express News, writes that "the faces of the children, street beggars, and mariachis come to life in the charcoal and pastel drawings of Reefka. Her work fascinatingly captures the graphic details and emotional tonalities etched into the faces young and old by the harsh social and natural realities of border life."

Reefka has had exhibitions of her work throughout the Southwest, including "Dreamwalkers" at the Michael McCormick Gallery in Taos, New Mexico, "Ekphrasis: Sacred Stories of the Southwest" in the Obliq Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona, "Daughters of Juarez" in the Parks Gallery in Taos, New Mexico, and "Borderlines" at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas. Her awards include the Octavia Arneson Award in the International Art Show at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, First Place for drawing in Riofest, and Second Place for painting at the Mariachi Vargas Extravanganza Art Exhibit in San Antonio. She has also received a special initiative grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Reefka has lectured on the creative process at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico, the SMU-in-Taos summer lecture series, and the Harwood Museum. Her artwork has been featured in Tempo and she had a one-woman show at the Rottenstone Gallery, in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico and other solo exhibitions at A SEA in the Desert Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Michael McCormick Gallery in Taos, New Mexico. She recently had five of her Taos paintings featured in Cirque: a Journal of the Arts (v.6, no. 1).

Her "La Música" series of paintings of musicians and dancers of the U.S. / Mexico border was published in The Magic of Mariachi / La Magia del Mariachi by Wings Press in 2016. U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, described her paintings in this book as "luminous and passion-fired." Her recent series of drawings, "Dreamwalkers," of mothers and children who were part of the Immigrant surge from Central America, represents her ongoing engagement with the impact of social upheaval along the U.S. / Mexico border.

You can view her artwork at www.reefka.com

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Website: http://www.poetry-art.com

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