The Scofield (Issue 3.1) Launches feat. Rita Banerjee on James Baldwin

The Scofield, Issue 3.1 on “Kōbō Abe & Home” launched this week and features the work of Rita Banerjee on James Baldwin.  On Baldwin, Banerjee writes:

In The Devil Finds Work, James Baldwin takes an incisive and illuminating look at the movies, both American and European, and examines the black gaze on the white body, the black gaze on the black body, and what it means to be black and still maintain a dynamic sense of subjecthood in America and in Europe. In the collection of essays, Baldwin traces the origins of his own critic’s eye to the inimical tension between his parents, his father’s violent relationship towards him as a young boy, and his unexpected allies and mentors in teachers like Bill Miller, a young white woman, who took him, as a child to see Uncle Tom’s Cabin and A Tale of Two Cities and who shed light on the relationship between racism and classism in America.

Read the full issue here.

Advertisements

Rita Banerjee’s poem “Sleep” feat. on the Academy of American Poets as a Poem-a-Day

Rita Banerjee’s poem “Sleep” is featured on the Academy of American Poets as their Poem-a-Day for Thursday, November 30, 2017.  “Sleep” is part of Rita Banerjee’s new collection of poems Echo in Four Beats (FLP, 2018).  Combining elements, rhythms, and personas from American jazz, blues, and ragtime, poet Rita Banerjee presents a modern-day spin on the love story of Echo and Narcissus in her debut full-length poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats.  But in this story, told in four parts, Echo is more than just a fragment, she is a Sapphic voice that speaks, foretells, forestalls, and repeats Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, the Three Mile Harbor Book Prize, the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.  “Sleep” was inspired by a recent trip to Taiwan.  Of the experience and poem, Banerjee writes:

‘Sleep’ explores the space where human agency or communication seems impossible until an unexpected moment of connection or surprise occurs, often between two people, often through art.  A few years ago, I had the honor of traveling through Jinshan, Taiwan. At a monastery, I attended a conference on Buddhism. Outside the temple grounds, English held no cachet. Jinshan was famous for its hot springs and pools of captive koi. I watched them move through the water without a sound, and began writing this poem. One day, I got lost in a local marketplace. To ask for directions home, I tried speaking in Japanese. A woman selling herbs and flowers answered. She had been forced to learn Japanese as a schoolgirl during the occupation of Taiwan. After independence, she never thought the language would come in handy again, especially not in the twenty-first century, especially not while talking to a Bengali American traveler like me. We talked, our conversation halting, full of sorrow and surprise, for nearly an hour.”

To read the full poem, please visit the Academy of American Poets here.

Rita Banerjee is the author of Echo in Four Beats, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in February 2018. She is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches on modernism, art house film, and South Asian aesthetics and literary theory at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany, where she currently lives.

Split this Rock 2018 Poetry Festival Panel feat. Rita Banerjee, Christina M. Rau, Marlena Chertock, and Alex DiFrancesco Announced!


Poets Rita Banerjee, Christina M. Rau, Marlena Chertock, and Alex DiFrancesco will be featured in the panel “Fantasy As Reality: Activism and Catharsis Through Speculative Writing” at the 2018 Split This Rock Poetry Festival.  Split This Rock: Poems of Provocation & Witness will take place from April 19-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.  You can read more about the festival here and the panel below:

Speculative literature, at its core, is about giving voice to “The Other.” Speculative writing, in prose or poetry, focuses on not only imagined realities of the future, past, and present, but also gives voice to bodies and individuals who are disabled, alien, marginalized, menial workers, and more. Terms like solarpunk and sco-speculation are becoming more used and explored. Often times, speculative and science fiction is stereotyped as futuristic, extraterrestrial, and fantastical romps through universes using space travel, time travel, and super-advanced technology involving mostly cis white males. However, women, non-binary, and activist writers of Speculative Fiction are purposefully  subverting this stereotype, diversifying and owning the fantastical worlds that they imagine. Sci-fi and fantasy characters and voices can and should represent the underrepresented to create a sense of community as well as rail against injustices in this world.

Rita Banerjee’s lyric essay “Mano a Mano” on race and intimacy featured in Nat. Brut.

Rita Banerjee’s lyric essay, “Mano a Mano” is featured in the new issue of Nat. Brut.  “Mano a Mano” ” examines the relationship between race, power, and sexuality.  The essay follows two writers, one male, one female, one of a religious minority, and the other of an ethnic minority, as they deconstruct the origins of racism and racial violence in the United States and Europe today.  In this real-life account, the two writers and sparring partners find themselves dismissing and torpedoing one another’s experiences with racism and othering as they attempt to create a documentary film, which challenges the white gaze on the black body, their own voyeurism, and the brewing tension between them.  The essay takes a playful and pointed look at racism, othering, and attraction, and the fault line between intimacy and cool.  An excerpt from the essay follows below:

“Rita, I’m just going to turn up the heat.” And so, in the rain, covered by a too-thin umbrella, Michael launched his assault.

“You’re just a privileged kid from the suburbs.” He would accuse me later of being born with a silver spoon. He was chagrined that I had mentioned Harvard during the orientation of the workshop we were both teaching at. He said that I always took the higher, moralistic position on things. That I was some sort of truth-seeker. That basically, I didn’t want to get my hands dirty. That I essentially pooh-poohed any discussion on race and instead went for the safe, predictable PC route. That I was not digging deeper inside myself. That I was not confused enough yet. That I did seem a little damn righteous.

The tirade continued, publicly, as we waited in the line to enter the Fondation Cartier, for what seemed to me like an eternity lasting only 15 minutes. What’s the saying? Time slows when you’re not having fun.

And just as the mic was turned over to me, we arrived at the ticket booth. Michael paid for all of our tickets. We went inside without talking to one another.

After some time, once we had played a game of hide and seek between paintings and looked at the Congolese art, the conversation began to flow almost naturally. We studied paintings, magazine covers, and collages, and read the bodies in them for intent and subversion. In many of the pieces, the gaze of the voyeur was flipped back on the voyeur, himself. Michael and I struck up a conversation about a painting of four discombobulated Black musicians playing in a band, whose erased faces and organs were attached to what looked like computerized instruments. I mentioned that the players wore the forced smiles of performers on stage, and that their expressions seemed to climax and fall. “Almost like coitus and post-coitus,” Michael said. The conversation continued until two women from security flagged us down. I tried to convince them that the filming was for a private project, but they were reluctant to let us continue. Later. I translated what I said to them to Michael, and he smiled back at me, “So you can be bad.”

To read the full essay, please visit Nat. Brut. here.

Rita Banerjee to judge the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest – Submission Deadline: December 1, 2017

Poet, editor, professor and Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Rita Banerjee will judge the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook ContestWinner receives $250 and 10 copies of chapbook.  More information on contest available here

Minerva Rising is an independent literary press, celebrates the creativity and wisdom in every woman by giving them space to tell their stories and to tell them well.   This year’s contest embodies and embraces the theme “Dare to Speak” by opening up the Minerva Rising annual chapbook contest to writers whose voices have been suppressed.  If your poetry speaks a message that has never been heard before, the Universe is ripe to listen.  Now is the season to Dare.

Writers are invited to submit 14-36 pages of a chapbook-length poetry manuscript (along with a table of contents and acknowledgements page) to Minerva Rising by December 1, 2017.  Submission fee is $20.  Applications open at minervarising.submittable.com:

Rita Banerjee is the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, March 2018) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, February 2018), which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, Three Mile Harbor Poetry Prize, and Aquarius Press / Willow Books Literature Award, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut.The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches on modernism, art house film, and South Asian literary theory and aesthetics at the Institute for Indology and Tibetology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany.  She is currently working on a documentary film about race, voyeurism, and intimacy in the United States and in France, a novel about a Tamil-Jewish American family in crisis during a post-authoritarian regime, and a collection of essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

Echo in Four Beats (poetry debut) by Rita Banerjee Available for Pre-Order October 10 – December 8, 2017!


Rita Banerjee’s poetry debut, Echo in Four Beats, is now available for pre-order on the Finishing Line Press website from October 10 – December 8, 2017!

Combining elements, rhythms, and personas from American jazz, blues, and ragtime, poet Rita Banerjee presents a modern-day spin on the love story of Echo and Narcissus in her debut full-length poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats.  But in this story, told in four parts, Echo is more than just a fragment, she is a Sapphic voice that speaks, foretells, forestalls, and repeats.  Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, the Three Mile Harbor Book Prize, the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.

Early Praise for Echo in Four Beats:

Echo in Four Beats sounds the singular pulse of Harlem, Kyoto, Nainital and San Francisco to uncover a deeper mystery; what makes a word into a sensation, a sensation into a moment and what, in the swirling constellation of geographies, turns a moment into the sublime. Amidst the kinetic search for buried treasure in everyday encounters with photocopiers and the breathless search for lost objects, there are also unexpected collisions with silence so shocking, they stop us dead in our tracks. We realise the whiteness between words was here all along; its stillness curving the inside of this syncopated journey across time and space.”

— Dipika Guha, playwright and author of Mechanics of Love and The Rules, and screenwriter for American Gods

“Rita Banerjee’s Echo in Four Beats is a lyric wonder. Wildly intertextual and multilingual, Banerjee mines literatures, histories, and geographies, both eastern and western, to produce an expansive collection of poems. The breadth of her work is staggering and yet utterly approachable, at once intimate and worldly. This may well be the first truly post-national book of poems I’ve ever read. I look forward to reading it again and again.”

— Jaswinder Bolina, author of The 44th of July, Phantom Camera, andCarrier Wave

“Rita Banerjee’s Echo in Four Beats is a multilingual, intercontinental arpeggio of a journey on which ‘one layer/ of enchantment// dispels another.’ From Ovid to Baudelaire, from Manhattan to Atlantis to the Ganges, these poems conjure shape-shifting and gyroscopic worlds where erasure is sustenance, myth is religion, and home is but a constant state of momentary arrivals. Banerjee’s attentive, precise, incantatory poems reverberate ‘not sound not/ voice” and resound with the “enchantments of art/ and life.’”

— Tara Skurtu, author of The Amoeba Game and Skurtu, Romania

“In our narcissism-addled times, Rita Banerjee awakens Echo out of mythical slumber and accords her center stage, with stirring results. These poems dance nimbly from the playful to the sacred, the pentatonic-ancient to the jazzy-contemporary, the observational to the contemplative, and cross languages and borders with abandon, from trains in India to a Munich museum to the local copy shop. Yet while they may ‘change [their] temperament as quickly as salamanders change skin,’ Echo in Four Beats  is constantly returning us to a tonic center and rebuilding its chords and arpeggios anew, offering a music both savory and profound.”

— Tim Horvath, author of Understories and Circulation

“Banerjee’s polyglot collection–pushing at the edges of language; abounding with erasure, mistranslation and wit; impossible to contain in a single tongue. From the smallest pieces of our world–the falling snow, cobblestone, a reflection in the water–Banerjee has crafted something astonishing that reaches towards higher truths.”

— Stephen Aubrey, author of Daguerreotype and What I Took in My Handand Co-Artistic Director of The Assembly Theater, NYC

Pre-Order Echo in Four Beats on the Finishing Line Press website now!

Rita Banerjee hosts International Write-a-Novel-Month 2017 Creative Writing Workshops at the Munich Readery – November 5,12,19, and December 3

RoyalTypeWriterInternational Write-a-Novel Month 2017 Writing Workshops
Sunday November 5, 12, 19, and December 3, 2017 * 14:00 – 17:00
Location: Café Clara, Isabellastraße 8, 80798 München

Join creative writing instructor Rita Banerjee for International Write a Novel Month 2017!  These workshops are for writers who are developing or working to complete a book-length manuscript. For our first workshop, writers are encouraged to bring in project proposals. Ideas for a book-length manuscript will be reviewed in class. We will also review texts that blur the line between fact and fiction and that can serve as a launching pad for building longer narratives. During subsequent workshop sessions, writers will work and receive feedback on their manuscripts. Light readings on writing craft and narrative structure will also be provided. Participation in all four workshops is recommended, but not required.  To register, send an email to John by November 3, 2017 at: store@themunichreadery.com. Workshop Fee: €35.

 

Workshop Fee: €35 for each Sunday
To register, send an email to store@themunichreadery.com

Rita Banerjee is the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, March 2018) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, February 2018), a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, Three Mile Harbor Poetry Prize, and Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award; the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016); and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. Her writing appears in Poets & Writers, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, and elsewhere.  She is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches on modernism, art house film, and South Asian literary theory and aesthetics at the Institute for Indology and Tibetology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany. She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.