William J. Harris

Associate Professor
Primary office:
785-864-2534
3106 Wescoe Hall


Areas of Research

American Literature, African American Literature, jazz studies, American poetry and creative writing.

Selected Publications

The Poetry and Poetics of Amiri Baraka: The Jazz Aesthetic (1985), Hey Fella Would You Mind Holding This Piano a Moment (1974), and In My Own Dark Way (1977).

Associate Professor Harris has also published poetry in fifty anthologies and some of the more recent work appears in Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (2004) andEvery Goodbye Ain’t Gone: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry by African AmericansEvery Goodbye Ain't Gone: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry by African Americans(2006). He is the editor or co-editor of The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader (1991, 2000), Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of African American Literary Tradition (1997) and a double issue of The African American Review on Amiri Baraka (Summer/Fall 2003). He is an editor or advisory editor for The African American Review, mixed blood,the University of Iowa Press Contemporary North American Poetry Series, Penn Sound: Amiri Baraka (website) and Modern American Poetry: Amiri Baraka (website).  His awards and fellowships include the College of the Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher Award (Penn State), and the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship (Harvard University). He is a member of the Jazz Study Group at Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies.


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