Cambridge Writers’ Studio Opens in Brooklyn

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop (formerly based in Cambridge, MA) will be opening a writing studio in Brooklyn, NY on November 25, 2011.  The Cambridge Writers Workshop will be holding creative writing and craft classes at the studio, offer writing residencies, and will also provide information on upcoming on-line writing workshops and the CWW in Sacy, writing and eco-living retreat at the Chateau de Sacy scheduled for August 2012.  You can find out more about the programs and classes offered by the CWW by attending the studio launch here:

Cambridge Writers’ Studio Opening
Friday November 25, 2011 at 7:30 pm
922 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Featuring live music, champagne toasts, flash writing prompts, open mics sessions, and electrified readings by Samantha Milowsky, Patrick Rosal, and co-directors Diana Norma Szokolyai and Rita Banerjee.  For information, please visit the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop websites here:  (Please Note that the CWW Brooklyn Studio is part of the 922 Studio Complex on the second floor above Norm’s Music).

Tupelo Press – Lines of Inspiration (Day 31)

The editors at Tupelo Press have created a wonderful poetry project entitled “The Million Line Poem.”  The project invites writers and poets of all creeds to come together on-line as a community to create an exciting, fun, and thought-provoking collaborative poem.  Here are two lines that were featured on Tupelo Press’s Lines of Inspiration for Day 31 of their collaborative poem project:


I bought a box of strawberries today. They were ripe & they were tart. I would like
to share them with you. But not the satisfaction—

– Rita Banerjee

You can read more about the Million Line Poem here:

A Night with Kali (Digitized)

The Brooklyn Art House Co-op has begun to digitize The Fiction Project (2011) collection.  So while the original edition of A Night with Kali can be found at the Brooklyn Art Library in New York, here is a copy of the novella for your reading pleasure: 

A Night with Kali focuses on the story of a young taxi driver from Kolkata named Tamal.  Part coming of age narrative, part mystery, Tamal deconstructs and reconstructs his various encounters with ghosts and the goddess Kali as the novella progresses.  Based on a true-life story, A Night with Kali is part of the “Nighttime Stories” genre of The Fiction Project (2011) collection.

In addition to the digital scan on-line, A Night with Kali is also available for reading at the Brooklyn Art Library, an archive of the Brooklyn Art-House Co-op.  The original novella can be read at:  Brooklyn Art Library, 103A N. 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY 11211 *  Tues-Sun: 12:00-8:00pm (Here is a wonderful preview and review of the Brooklyn Art Library).

The Fiction Project

Rita Banerjee recently produced a hand-made novella, entitled, A Night with Kali, for the Brooklyn Art House Co-op.  The book will be part of the Art House Co-op’s The Fiction Project (2011).  The novella was hand-written and hand-illustrated according to the Art House rules.  You can see scans of the project below:

A Night with Kali will be housed permanently at the Brooklyn Art Library (with portions available on line). However, the novella is being currently featured on the The Fiction Project (2011) tour.  You can view  A Night with Kali in person at the following exhibitions this summer:

June 10-12, 2011
12pm – 4pm
Seattle, WA Form/Space Ateller
2407 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
June 16-18, 2011
12pm – 5:30pm
San Francisco, CA Madrone Studios
1417 15th St
San Francisco, CA
July 14-17, 2011
12:00pm – 5:00pm
Chicago, IL Hyde Park Art Center
5020 South Cornell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615
July 29-31, 2011 Winter Park, FL Full Sail University
3300 University Boulevard
Winter Park, FL 32792

Here’s an image of exhibition in action.  This photograph was taken on June 18, 2011 at Madrone Studios in San Francisco, California during the The Fiction Project (2011) tour.  The exhibition featured an area where readers could look up and check-out individual hand-made books from the Brooklyn Art House Co-op’s The Fiction Project (2011) and The Sketchbook Project (2011).  To the right of the library and reading section was a small stage and performance area for poets and writers to read from and perform portions of their hand-written books live.  The Fiction Project will continue its tour at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, IL and Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL this summer.  You can read Rita Banerjee’s novella A Night with Kali at any of these locations or at the Brooklyn Art Library after the tour.

(photo courtesy of Jeremie Korta)

On the Radio

Rita Banerjee’s poetry was recently featured on the KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon.  The reading, which featured a selection of poems from Cracklers at Night, was hosted by Kushlani de Soyza.  Check out the reading below:

Rita Banerjee
APA Compass, KBOO Radio
Reading from “Cracklers at Night”
Host: Kushlani de Soyza

Praise for Cracklers at Night

“In the chapbook, Cracklers at Night, Rita Banerjee’s poems are an acrobatic music, a swinging erudition, a hip lyric to make shape of Whitman’s “ostent evanescent”, a phrase he uses to conjure the metaphysical projections of the physical world. Banerjee, with thrilling compression and off-beat breaks, fashions a multi-dimensional America…With wit, play, consonance, anagram, assonance, the unexpected rhyme, Banerjee offers, in this short collection, a material, feminist, postcolonial critique of where we are as a nation, what we are made of, what we fail to make, and what we can make of language regardless. Cracklers at Night is a fantastic debut.
~ Patrick Rosal, author of Uprock, Headspin, Scramble, and Dive and My American Kundiman

“’I had no roam / no hope to / call a // road’” writes Rita Banerjee in her wide-ranging chapbook, but I don’t believe her for a second.  This is a mobile and  hopeful speaker, capable of making her home in a rail car heading out of  Manipal just as easily as she inhabits Renoir’s Bougival.  Throughout, the worldliness is laced with heartache, in search of “’some solace that would heal the lines / between blue and continent.’”
~ Srikanth Reddy, author of Facts for Visitors

“Rita Banerjee’s poems spin the reader into a world of tightly packed imagery that leaves us gasping at the edge of violent endings or floating in wondrous, ancient silences.  With lyric intensity, delicacy, and humor, she has the capacity to make places and sounds palpable, taking the reader on a journey from Harlem to the Himalayas.  This is a new voice of hypnotizing and rare beauty.”
~ Diana Norma Szokolyai, author of Roses in the Snow

Sample from the collection

The moon had jackknifed,

broken mid-pace—
kept him still
pausing over an edgeless pool,
the orbs splitting yellow
spoke of oblivion,
his eyes glimmered,
the moon understood,
flew to him with haste,
first touching the cool palette
of his foot, then the sturdy
crest below his neck, finally
igniting in his wondrous eyes.
In the last spark,
his body gave way—
until nothing remained
but a lovely blank
and the windshield
warped by the embrace.

~ Rita Banerjee


Note: “The moon had jackknifed” is featured in the collection Cracklers at Night.  It was published in the Crab Creek Review in 2007 and is the winner of the 2006 Crab Pot Poetry Contest.

Upcoming and Past Readings

Saturday September 28, 2013

10,000 Poets for Change:
Voices from the Global Majority
The Munich Readery * 7:00 pm
Augustenst. 24, Munich, Germany

Saturday March 9, 2013:

Performance at the Boston Conservatory, 8:30 pm
featuring Dennis Shafer, Diana Norma Szokolyai, & Rita Banerjee
Theatre Building Room 401
31 Hemenway Street, Boston, MA 02115

Friday March 8, 2013:

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2013 AWP Reading
Crossroads Pub * 5:00-7:00 pm
495 Beacon St  Boston, MA 02215 

Thursday March 7, 2013:

Revival of the Literary Salon with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop
AWP Panel featuring Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Jessica Piazza, Samantha Milowsky, & Jade Sylvan
Hynes Convention Center Room 202, 9:00-10:15 am

Saturday October 6, 2012:

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop & ChagallPAC present:
Rita Banerjee, Tara Skurtu & The Feather Merchants
Zeitgeist Outpost, 186 Hampshire Street
Inman Square, Cambridge, MA * 7:30 pm

Saturday May 19, 2012:

Brooklyn Lit Crawl 2012 presents:
Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Literary Cabaret
Ceol Bar (21+), 191 Smith Street * 6:00 pm

Saturday April 21, 2012

“On Writing and Craft” with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop
Mass Poetry Festival 2012, 2:45-3:45 pm
Salem Community Charter School, Room 4

Saturday March 3, 2012:

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop AWP Reading
Danny’s Tavern * 5:00-7:15 pm
1951 W Dickens Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 

Friday November 25, 2011:

7:30 pm Reading @ the Opening of
The Cambridge Writers’ Studio
922 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Friday May 6, 2011:

APA Compass, KBOO Radio
Reading from “Cracklers at Night”
Host: Kushlani de Soyza

Friday November 18, 2010:

Reading & Soundpainting with the
Chagall Performance Arts Collaborative
The Outpost, 186 Hamsphire Street
Inman Square, Cambridge, MA

Rita Banerjee

Rita Banerjee is a writer, and received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University in May 2013.  She received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Washington in 2006, and while in Seattle, taught creative writing classes for Real Change newspaper and served as a Writer-in Residence for the Powerful Writers/Pipeline Project.  She has also taught creative writing classes for the Kalam Project in Kolkata, India and worked as a Literary Arts Fellow for the Dudley House at Harvard University.  She has published her creative work in Catamaran, The Crab Creek Review, The Dudley Review, Objet d’Art, Vox Populi, and Chrysanthemum among other journals.  She is a co-director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop in Cambridge, MA, and her new work has been featured in The New Renaissance, DesiLit, Poets for Living Waters, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure, Amethyst Arsenic, and The Fiction Project.  Her first collection of poems, a chapbook entitled Cracklers at Night, was recently published by Finishing Line Press in December 2010 and received 1st Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Lost Angeles Book Festival.  Her writing has also been recently featured on HER KIND by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon.