AcademicsGraduate AcademicsCreative Writing & Poetics

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in

Creative Writing & Poetics

Earn your Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics from Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Here, you’ll join a thriving community of fellow writers and artist in creative risk-taking, lively critique, and engaging literary studies across genres and forms.

Among the country’s top MFA writing programs, Naropa’s MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics provides the only open-genre degree in the country.  Rooted in the lineage of experimental poetics, writers at the Jack Kerouac School work across artistic disciplines and genres to hone their voices on and off the page. From contemplative to documentary poetics, MFA writers at Naropa work at the cutting-edge of contemporary, experimental forms alongside the traditions of letterpress printing and small press publishing. 

Founded in 1974 by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics values not just the craft but also the spirit of writing. As the only MFA Creative Writing degree in the United States culminating in critical and creative theses, writers enter the world ready to take their work to the next level from academia to publishing, performance, and community building.

Our graduate creative writing program alumni go on to publish across literary fields and to develop careers as professors, publishers, podcasters, artistic rebels, and more.

Quick Facts






On-Campus or
Online Hybrid


with your counselor

Alanna Marks

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Courses You Could Take

in Creative Writing & Poetics

Throughout your two years in the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics program, the award-winning Jack Kerouac School faculty support your personal inquiry and discovery of both your best creative work and your best self.

Our raduate creative writing program curriculum includes writing workshops, poetics seminars in critical theory and queer literature, professional development in publishing and book arts, contemplative studies, and your final critical and creative thesis work. Whatever courses you take, our open-genre approach will challenge you to take radical creative risks.

Courses in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics include:

The Naropa Difference

If you’re seeking an MFA in creative writing that encourages cross-genre writing, translation, and experimental forms, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa is the place for you. Our open-genre curriculum promotes radical creativity and instills a culture of curiosity, community, and innovation.

Diverse Faculty

You want an MFA creative writing program with faculty who are not only accomplished writers and teachers, but who will also encourage you to express your own lived experience. Together with program director Anne Waldman, distinguished professor and world-renowned poet and performer, our faculty include accomplished poets and writers from around the country and the world.

To date, Naropa’s graduate creative writing program students have studied with Joy Harjo, Roberto Tejada, Layli Long Soldier, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and other visiting faculty. Encounters with these gifted writers and performers are a hallmark of Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School.

Writing Community

In an MFA creative writing program, a supportive community of writers is essential. At Naropa, community is fostered through a culture of collaboration over competition. Our greatest concerns are not MFA in creative writing program rankings or how often and where student work is being published. Instead, we are concerned with writers discovering the full expression of their creative capacity.

Naropa’s writing community is strengthened by a rich calendar of events, including our Summer Writing Program, an annual convocation of students, poets, fiction writers, performers, and more. Beyond campus, our community extends into Boulder, a city overflowing with art and intellect.

Open-Genre Curriculum

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics is rooted in Naropa’s mission of contemplative education. The graduate program’s approach explores revolutionary genre bending in the craft of writing, and our inclusion of poetics, unique among MFAs in creative writing, encourages exploration across genres and themes.

Combined, these innovative aspects of Naropa’s MFA program allow you to shape your own aesthetic based on personal and cultural values found in literature, in community, and within yourself. Your final thesis will reflect a vision unique to your experience. Through your writing, you’ll find a path into your truest self.

Students Transformed

Student Transformed

What to Expect

Strengthen your craft and technique in a variety of literary genres.
Superior Writing Craft
Clearly communicate original ideas on a variety of literary texts and topics.
Foundation in
Critical Theory
Recognize and appreciate intersecting social identities in literature.
Awareness of Intersectionality in the Literary Arts
Discover your full potential as a writer by learning to take creative risks.
Freedom of
Become a published author, writing teacher, translator, or editor.
Career Preparedness

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This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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