Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost - 20100620 - Stephen and Reefka Schneider

Steve and Reefka

Steven P. Schneider is a Professor in the Department of English at the University of Texas-Pan American, where he also serves as Director of New Programs and Special Projects for the College of Arts and Humanities. Steven is a founding member of the South Texas Literacy Coalition in the Rio Grande Valley and is the recipient of two Big Read grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has used the "Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives" traveling exhibit to promote the teaching of culturally relevant literature and creativity. Steven offers a variety of workshops on these topics to both high school and college students and teachers.

Steven Schneider has published his poetry widely and 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 South Texas Literary Festival. He has also been interviewed and read his work on NETV. Steven Schneider's poems and essays have been published in national and international journals, including Critical Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Tikkun, The Literary Review, and featured in American Life in Poetry.

He is the author of several books, including two collections of poetry, Prairie Air Show and Unexpected Guests, and a scholarly book entitled 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. He is a winner of an Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for Poetry and a Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship.

Reefka Schneider

Reefka Schneider is one of the foremost artists of "la frontera," the binational region of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Her artwork reflects the social and economic realities of the border while celebrating the local culture, people, and music. Reefka lives in McAllen, Texas with her poet husband Steven.

Yvonamor Palix, international art curator, likens Reefka's 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." Ricardo Contreras Soto, anthropologist and co-editor of Paz y conflicto religioso: Los indígenes de México, describes Reefka's work as an "estético peligroso" -- a dangerous aesthetic. Drawings from Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives were featured in the book Writing Toward Hope: The Literature of Human Rights in Latin America (Yale University Press, 2006) and in the Afro-Hispanic Review (Vanderbilt University Press, 2008).

Two Afro-American artists of past and present, Charles White and Dean Mitchell, have influenced Reefka greatly. Dean Mitchell has said, "I would hope that my work can bring people together. Art has a way to bridge and heal wounds." Reefka also strives to give a voice and a face to those who have none.

Reefka has won numerous awards for her art and had recent exhibitions at The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, the Rockport Center for the Arts, Rockport, Texas, The International Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, Texas, Northwest Vista College, San Antonio, Texas, and the Art Center for the Islands, Port Aransas, Texas. She is represented by Nuevo Santander Gallery in McAllen, Texas.