“Encountering Allen Ginsberg: The South Asian Avant-Garde Response to the Beats” – ACLA, Harvard University – March 18
Presented by Dr. Rita Banerjee
Cross-Cultural Values: Confluences and Conflicts
Friday March 18, 2016 * 2:00 – 3:45 pm
Emerson Hall, Room 307, Harvard University
In the early 1960s, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso, and Gary Snyder travelled extensively across India and met with several avant-garde South Asian writer groups such as the Krittibās and Hungry Generation writers in Bengali, the Nayī Kavitā poets in Hindi, and with P. Lal’s English-language Writers Workshop group. This paper will examine the ways in which the South Asian avant-garde interpreted, welcomed, and/or challenged the Asia-oriented gaze of Allen Ginsberg and his fellow Beats. The complicated South Asian response to the Beat Generation will be investigated through examples of literary criticism, translation, and first-hand accounts of the Beats as produced by modernist, Hungry Generation, and post-Independence confessionalist writers in Hindi, Bengali, and Indian English.