Adverse Abstraction Reading feat. Rita Banerjee, Bonnie Jill Emanuel, and Virginia Vasquez * May 20, 2022, 6 pm at Otto’s NYC

Adverse Abstraction will be featuring poets and writers Rita Banerjee, Bonnie Jill Emanuel, and Virginia Vasquez during their next monthly reading at Otto’s Shrunken Head on Friday, May 20 at 6 pm Eastern. The Adverse Abstraction monthly artist series is curated in New York City by writers Kristine Esser Slentz and Matthew Gahler, and you can read more about the featured authors below.

Featured Authors:

Rita Banerjee is author of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, Echo in Four Beats, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps, and Cracklers at Night. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA from the University of Washington, and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing program at the George Polk School of Communications at Long Island University Brooklyn. Her work appears in Hunger Mountain, Isele, Nat. Brut., Poets & Writers, Academy of American Poets, Los Angeles Review of Books, Vermont Public Radio, and elsewhere. She is the co-writer and co-director of Burning Down the Louvre (2022), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France.  She received a 2021-2022 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council for her new memoir and manifesto on female cool, and one of the opening chapters of this memoir, “Birth of Cool” was a Notable Essay in the 2020 Best American Essays.

Bonnie Jill Emanuel’s poems appear or will appear in American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, Mid-American Review, Passages North, The Night Heron Barks, SWWIM, The Laurel Review, Indolent Books Online, Ruminate, Love’s Executive Order, Midwest Review, Chiron Review,  and elsewhere. She earned a Creative Writing MFA at The City College of New York in 2020, where she was awarded the Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize in Creative Writing for her full-length thesis manuscript, and the Stark Poetry Prize in Memory of Raymond Patterson for a series of poems she wrote about Detroit. She holds a BA in Creative Writing & Foreign Languages from University of Michigan’s Residential College. Born in Detroit, she now lives in New York.

Virginia Vasquez is a cross-genre writer, multidisciplinary artist, and educator. She taught creative writing at the City College of New York, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on experimental and hybrid poetics. In her artist statement, she explains: “As a multiracial Caribeña, I honor my racial identities, ancestry, and lineage. In my work, I evoke ancestral spirits to give voice to those forgotten and unheard, to bring the ancestors into presence — exalt their pain and sacrifice, resistance and power. My writing is ritualistic, taking on various forms and shapes to challenge perceptions, perspectives, and assumptions about history, identity, and self.” Virginia is also a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor, and has worked in mental health settings for over 6 years. She taught various workshops on mental health at 1199SEIU, and currently facilitates trainings’ for the Mentorship Training Program for Registered Apprenticeship in Healthcare at H-CAP, Inc.

Iterant 2 feat. Rita Banerjee’s Poetry & Flash Essay Launches


The Ruth Stone Foundation just launched its second issue of Iterant,  an interactive multi-media poetry and prose journal.  The October 2020 issue of Iterant, “But We Keep Fighting” features the poetry, prose, audio recordings, and art of Anne Carson,  Matthew Zapruder, Timothy Liu, Sharon Olds, Dara Weir, Charles Mason III, and Rita Banerjee among other poets and artists.

Rita Banerjee’s poems “String Theory” and “Sunlight over Reyjkavík” and her essay “Of Delight” are featured in the new issue of Iterant. Check out her writing here, and check out the audio recordings of her poems and prose here.

Here’s is a short excerpt from the poem “String Theory”:

… but like a child learning to speak
or a visitor in a foreign language, I blended the sounds
of their names together. Each hue was a mirage—

a trick of light, a fascination. Each fired
an unpredictable rhythm of cones and cylinders
in the eye. If color was biological, automatic,
mechanical, what sense could the eye hold?

Read more here.

Many thanks to Walter and Bianca Stone for their incredible editorial support and curation of this new issue of Iterant.