The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Executive Creative Director Rita Banerjee will be a Visiting Writer at the New Hampshire Institute of Art this Spring. She will be lecturing and giving workshops on topics such as “Rasa: Emotion and Suspense in Theatre, Poetry, and (Non)Fiction,” “Poetry and What’s at Stake,” and “Revising, Pitching, and Publishing” at NHIA on Tuesday, March 27. In addition, she will be holding a discussion with Ayris editors and staff on Tuesday, March 27. Rita Banerjee will also be reading from her debut poetry collection Echo in Four Beats at the French Hall Rotunda at NHIA from 5:30-7:30 pm on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The poetry reading and Q&A for Echo in Four Beats is free and open to the public.
Earlier this week, Rita Banerjee’s poetry debut Echo in Four Beats was featured on New Hampshire Weekly’s The Hippo. In the article, entitled “Echo Speaks,” journalist Angie Sykeny interviews Rita Banerjee about her new collection of poems, and discusses gender roles, feminism, and speech acts with the author. Here’s a short excerpt from the interview below:
The New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester welcomes a special guest writer, Rita Banerjee, on Tuesday, March 27, for a reading, signing and discussion of her debut collection of poetry, Echo in Four Beats, released earlier this month.
What is the idea behind Echo in Four Beats?
It dreams of a common language. What happens when people from different backgrounds and places of power, with different ideas of masculinity and femininity, come together … and figure out how to connect, despite language barriers, and despite defined roles? How do they find ways to support that female agency and the female gaze?
What would you like readers to take away from Echo in Four Beats?
I would like readers to kind of interrogate their own power and find where and how they can express their own voice. It doesn’t have to be in proper English to express ourselves and our complicated identities in an honored form. I hope people will read [the poems] and be able to relate, but I hope it also invites response, and that they will try to express themselves in that form.
Rita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018). She is 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 the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut., The Scofield, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric 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 an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard and teaches at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. She is the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest, and she is currently working on a novel, a documentary film about race and intimacy, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.