Creative Writing and Poetics MFA
Summer Writing Program reading

Creative Writing and Poetics
Master of Fine Arts

Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics is unlike any other creative writing program in the world.

Founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman in 1974, Naropa’s creative writing program encourages the practice of writing as literary experiment: a radical inquiry into mind and language, and, by extension, into the nature of otherness and interdependence. 

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics invites you to investigate the discipline of creative writing within the context of its unique reading and writing centered curriculum. As a student in the Jack Kerouac School, you will develop knowledge and skill in the practice and discipline of writing as a creative art, employ multiple modes of critical inquiry within an expanding awareness of cultural-historical contexts, gain competency in contemplative theory and practice, and actively engage a diversity of personal and cultural values in thinking, experience, and aesthetics.

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics' groundbreaking approach to writing and literary studies has launched the careers of writers, teachers, professors, editors, translators, videographers, publishers, artistic rebels, and more. 


The Summer Writing Program

One third of your degree takes place during the international literary festival that is the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics’ Summer Writing Program. Part of your graduate experience, this four-week-long colloquium brings more than fifty outrider artists, writers, and thinkers to Naropa to offer workshops, lectures, panels, classes, performances, and meditation sessions. Past faculty have included M. NourbeSe Philip, Sonia Sanchez, Clark Coolidge, Michael Ondaatje, Claudia Rankine, Eleni Sikelianos, Layli Long Soldier, Thurston Moore, Laurie Anderson, Cecilia Vicuña, Daisy Zamora, Eileen Myles, and Sherwin Bitsui. 

Amiri baraka

Listen to Faculty

Dramatist, novelist and poet Amiri Baraka has been a vital, fiery contributor to Naropa since its inception. Baraka held court at Naropa in 1994, where he gave a lecture about Revolutionary Poetry to a rapt audience of MFA Creative Writing and Poetics students. We've got the entire lecture available on Naropa's Audio Archive.

listen to the entire lecture

Two Years

Two Creative Paths

Residential MFA This is a two-year, 48-credit, on-campus creative writing degree program. Students typically enroll in 9 credit hours per semester and 12 credit hours in the Summer Writing Program (over two summers). Your degree culminates in the creation of a book-length manuscript that you will write under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Low-Residency MFA This two-year correspondence program runs in Summer-Fall-Spring semesters over each of the two years of the program and is conducted primarily through written exchange of work and response between student and instructor. MFA in Creative Writing program faculty are all active, published writers accomplished at mentoring students individually.



Alumni Highlight

“Naropa taught me how to carry an active, open, and careful attention to language into every moment. On a commercial level, I’ve found the ability to channel my attention extremely useful in adapting the unique brand identities of my clients into tailored messaging that effectively reaches and influences its target audience.”

— Travis Macdonald, MFA 2007
Creative director at the global marketing agency Godfrey

Featured Creative Writing and Poetics Courses

  • Writing Workshop: Memoir/Anti-Memoir
  • Professional Development: Letterpress Printing—Well-Dressed Word
  • Multigenre Workshop: Somatic Writing 
  • Poetics Seminar: Writers in Community
See All Courses

Graduate Publications

Naropa alumni have been published in the following magazines and journals

Chicago Review
Jacket Magazine
Tarpaulin Sky
First Intensity
Rain Taxi
The Quarterly

And many others!