Photo courtesy of Naropa University Archives
Bobbie Louise Hawkins was an accomplished writer, poet and storyteller and Naropa faculty of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics from 1978–2010. She was known for her dynamic teaching style and her commitment to nurturing the creative growth of her students. Her presence in the Kerouac School, founded by fellow Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and Diane diPrima, not only connected her to the Beat literary tradition but also allowed her to impart her unique insights and perspectives to aspiring writers. While teaching courses on writing, literature, and the exploration of language, she made a lasting impact on our university’s ethos and the lives of countless students.
Her influence inspired a generation of writers as she emphasized the importance of women embracing their role as writers and artists rather than just a muse for someone else’s talents. Within a mostly male-dominated Beat movement, Hawkins expressed distinctly feminine perspectives and experiences in her published work—blending lyrical prose and keen observations that delved into the intricacies of womanhood, identity, and relationships. She understood the power of language, and carved a space for herself in the Beat canon, helping others to embrace their own narratives and break through the boundaries of artistic expression.