Creative Writing Teacher Kenyatta Rogers Opens Up

The photograph was taken by Columbia College Chicago.

by Damayanti Wallace

Kenyatta Rogers teaches students not only poetry, but the ways to navigate life. Rogers loves his what he does at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) — for him,this isn’t a just job but a place for collaboration. Many appreciate Rogers’ style of teaching and the way he interacts with his students whether they be his own or just a random passing in the hallway.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Rogers and talk about his past life and current teaching experience.

Damayanti Wallace: So, first question. What’s your favorite food?

Kenyatta Rogers: Corn beef sandwiches — no sauerkraut, rye bread, mustard, no Swiss cheese, just the meat bread and mustard.


D.W.: Wow, that’s interesting. Anything else?

K.R.: Rice, any rice. Spaghetti, sweet potato pie, ribs, barbecue, charcoal, no gas. 


D.W.: What’s your favorite song right now?

K.R.: Favorite song?

D.W: Yeah, it can be right now, or ever

K.R: “Boo’d Up,” the T-Pain Remix. “Slide” by FBG Duck. “Magnolia” by PlayBoi Carti.


D.W: What’s the best part about working at ChiArts?

K.R: I have a very unique job. A friend of mine asked on Facebook, “Who really likes their job?” and I was like, “You know what, I do.” I don’t even really think of it as a job, really, it’s just I get up and go talk about poetry and writing all day and like that’s — so ideal, to talk about creative writing all day. I mean, it seems like a lot but I’d rather talk about that than anything else.  And it’s close to my house — I mean, that’s just irony. That just so happens to happen like that. 


D.W: If you could be doing something else, other than teaching, what would it be?

K.R: As like a job? As like to make money?

D.W: Yeah.

K.R: I don’t know. Believe it or not, I’ve thought about that before, like if for whatever reason, I couldn’t do this. Cause I’ve known people like to switch jobs. I have a friend now who’s going to school to be a paralegal, ya know, who’s also a writer. It would have to be something that I wouldn’t have to take home with me, whatever it is. I mean, I take papers here home with me, I read stuff at home. If I worked at a supermarket — which I did for a long time — If I worked at a lumberyard. I don’t know. I don’t think I would want to write full time though, I don’t think I could do that. I mean, it would be great, but I would get really distracted. I need something else to do. Something with bikes, maybe.


D.W: Thank you so much Mr. Rogers. We do truly appreciate you.


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