CWW Creative Director 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.

Former CWW Board Member Tara Skurtu’s poetry chapbook, “Skurtu, Romania,” available from Eyewear Publishing!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce two new titles from Eyewear Publishing, Skurtu, Romania, and The Amoeba Game from poet and former CWW Board Member Tara Skurtu.  In Skurtu, Romania, Tara Skurtu lands physically and emotionally in the country of her family’s forgotten history, and she familiarizes herself in this foreign place through the dynamic of an alienating love story. Tara Skurtu’s poems have the logic of memory, the vivid spontaneity of dreams, and the precision of calculus – each line is, in a sense, an asymptote continually approaching the limits of language and love. This poetry holds a lens over every moment, alters the perception of home, invites the reader in as both foreigner and guest.

Tara Skurtu received a 2015-17 extended Fulbright, a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, and two Academy of American Poets prizes.  Her poems are published and translated internationally, and recent work appears in The Kenyon ReviewPlumePoetry Review, and Poetry Wales. Tara is the author of the chapbook Skurtu, Romania (Eyewear Publishing, 2016) and the full poetry collection The Amoeba Game (Eyewear, 2017). She lives in Romania, and is a former member of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Executive Board.

Introducing our new Grant Writing & Programming Intern: AM Ringwalt

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is excited to introduce our new Grant Writing and Programming intern, AM Ringwalt! AM is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, where she studied creative writing under Chris Dombrowski.  She is currently a senior at Emerson College, where she studies poetry and philosophy.

In 2013, Ringwalt was named a YoungArts Finalist and a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts Semi-Finalist for her short story Babies. Recent publications include poems in The Grief DiariesRogue Agent, and Talking River. Currently, she is at work on a full-length poetry manuscript and pursuing publication of her novella, Nando.

Also a folk musician, Ringwalt’s performances include a celebrity-judged talent show (via Rookie magazine) in Brooklyn and a Gala hosted by YoungArts in Miami honoring Robert Wilson. Bluer Flame, a series of songs recorded on her iPhone and processed through her partner’s tape deck, can be found on her Bandcamp page later this summer.

Before joining us at the CWW, Ringwalt spent time in Dublin, where she interned at the Irish Writers’ Centre and explored “thin places” by way of Beckett, Yeats and a weekend adventure in Connemara.

15 AMR_compressedPhoto by Hannah Carpenter