Local Poet and UMSL Professor Howard Schwartz Suffers Stroke


An e-mail arrived in my inbox late yesterday from Tsila Schwartz, whose husband Howard Schwartz is a fixture in the graduate writing program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

​Schwartz, who's 64, had a stroke last Saturday night that has affected his left side, as well as his speech. He's now out of the hospital and on the mend in rehab and is optimistic that he'll be able to return to teaching next semester.

A graduate of Washington U, Schwartz has been at UMSL since 1970 and is exceptionally knowledgeable about Jewish mythology. Biblical and kabbalistic imagery pervade his poetry, and he has written extensively on the topic in nonfiction works, including the critically acclaimed Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005.

I've known Howard for about as long as I can remember; he made a point of looking out for me during my misspent youth and, among other good deeds, stoked my passion for all things Bob Dylan with his exhaustive collection of concert bootlegs back in the days when such things were circulated only via cassette tape.