Photo by Steve Miles
Amiri Baraka taught at Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School during the late 1970s and early 1980s teaching summer writing programs and workshops. His presence brought a unique perspective to the school’s curriculum, emphasizing social justice, political activism, and African American cultural experiences in his teaching. He introduced students to the Black Arts Movement, radical political poetry, and the importance of cultural inclusivity in literature.
Baraka’s unapologetic approach to addressing social and political issues through his written work challenged conventional notions of poetry and storytelling. His presence encouraged students to explore writing that was rooted in activism and cultural critique. Even after his visits to Naropa, Baraka’s ideas and works continued to influence discussions and creative endeavors within the university. His legacy contributed to ongoing dialogues about the intersections of literature, activism, and identity and helped shape the dynamic literary environment for which the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics is known for.