Herbie Hancock Named Professor of Poetry at Harvard

The legendary jazz musician received an honorary professorship, which will include a six-lecture series.

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Herbie Hancock

RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images

Herbie Hancock, one of the architects of contemporary American music, who has left his fingerprints in just about every form of the art, is now the Harvard University 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry, BBC reports. The jazz legend will deliver six lectures on a variety of topics, according to Rolling Stone. His talks will mostly consist of personal stories and his own history as not only a jazz musician but also a practicing Buddhist.

One lecture will be titled "The Wisdom of Miles Davis," with whom Hancock played in the '60s, in what is largely considered Miles' second great quintet. Another will be about Buddhism and creativity, as Hancock has practiced Buddhism for the last four decades, BBC reports.

The school introduced the honorary professorship in 1925 and played host to such luminaries as Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot and Leonard Bernstein. Hancock told the BBC his personal muse was "life itself" and that following in Bernstein's footsteps was "pretty daunting."

"The reason that I was chosen for this position was only partially because of music," Hancock told BBC's Radio 5. "They also realized that I'm a goodwill ambassador to [the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture], which is partly to do with cultural diplomacy which I'm addressing in one of my lectures."

Hancock, who is 73, recently received the Kennedy Center Honors award. At the ceremony, Snopp Dogg praised the jazz musician, saying Hancock had "invented hip-hop" and performing the rap to Us3's "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)," a track that samples Hancock's 1964 track "Cantaloupe Island."

Hancock has won 15 Grammys, plus an Oscar in 1986 for best original score for the Round Midnight soundtrack.

Read more at BBC.

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