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Craft Talks at Saint Louis University Series

The Saint Louis University Craft Talks is a series about creativity in all its forms.

In each episode, our host, Edward Ibur, interviews writers, artists, educators and other visionaries to explore their creative processes and world perspectives. We peer inside the minds of creators and teachers who share their thoughts, opinions and beliefs with the world in captivating formats. Interviewees including rising star poet Monika Sok, Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 mixed-media artist Kahlil Irving, internationally renowned painter Victor Wang, award-winning journalist Jeannette Batz Cooperman and others, who share intimate details about their work process and sources of inspiration.

They also offer advice for listeners who are budding or established artists and/or educators themselves. The Craft Talks series is a part of the programming for the St. Louis Literary Award, sponsored by the Saint Louis University Libraries. Join us as we get to know the stories behind these compelling creators. Craft Talks is also available as a podcast on all streaming services where you get podcasts.

Recent Craft Talks at Saint Louis University

A Conversation with Writer and World-Renowned Jewish Folklorist, Howard Schwartz

Howard Schwartz is a prolific writer who has published fiction, nonfiction and poetry. He is widely considered among the top Jewish folklorists in the world. In searching for themes and images for his work in various genres, professor Schwartz has often found his inspiration in biblical, midrashic and kabbalistic lore. Many of his works retell ancient folktales, reflecting his belief in the importance of passing cultural lore from one generation to the next. His poetry frequently reflects the dreamlike and mysterious elements of Jewish mythology. Schwartz’s fictional works, as typified in the collection of parables titled "The Captive Soul of the Messiah," "are in part original, in part recreations of ancient legends, a conjunction of personal search and dreaming with mythical or timeless patterns or cycles," reported Francis Landy in the "Jewish Quarterly." As a result, Landy explained, Schwartz’s stories "are at once familiar, filled with the aura of the sages, giving the impression of a blind and insatiable predilection for the alleyways of tradition, and at the same time being wholly pertinent, incisive metaphors for our own predicament." Howard Schwartz is professor emeritus in the English department at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.  

A Conversation with Fiction Writer, Ethan Rutherford

Ethan Rutherford’s fiction has appeared in BOMB, Tin House, Ploughshares One Story American Short Fiction Post Road, Esopus, Conjunctions and "The Best American Short Stories." His first book, "The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories," was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, a finalist for the John Leonard Award, received honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and was the winner of a Minnesota Book Award. Born in Seattle, Washington, he received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and now teaches creative writing at Trinity College. He lives in Hartford, Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

His second collection, "Farthest South," will be published by A Strange Object in 2021.

A Conversation with Multi-Media Artist, Kahlil Irving

Originally from San Diego, California, Kahlil Robert Irving is an artist currently living and working in the USA. He attended the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis (MFA Fellow, 2017) and the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA, Art History and Ceramics/Sculpture, 2015). His work has been exhibited at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas, the Arizona State University Art Museum, and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, among others.

Kahlil Irving was selected to participate in the 2020 Great Rivers Biennial hosted by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, where he is exhibiting a solo exhibition entitled “At Dusk” on view from September 11, 2020, to February 21, 2021. Recently, he was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors. In 2018, Kahlil Irving’s first institutional solo exhibition took place at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts in Connecticut, and was accompanied by a full-color catalog with essays and an interview. Currently, he is presenting a large-scale commission on the project wall at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Irving's work is also featured in two concurrent collection exhibitions: Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 and Nothing is so Humble: Prints from Everyday Objects at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Kahlil Irving's work is in the collections of J.P. Morgan Chase Art Collection, New York; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He is also one of the new 30 featured artists in Forbes Magazine’s annual "30 Under 30: Art & Style" showcasing 30 groundbreaking cultural figures in the arts all under 30 years old.


Past Craft Talk Videos