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, and Carrier 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 Hand and Co-Artistic Director of The Assembly Theater, NYC
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 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 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.
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 Contest.
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. Winner receives $250 and 10 copies of chapbook. More information on contest available here. Submission fee is $20. Applications open at minervarising.submittable.com.
The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is coming to Los Angeles for the AWP Conference (March 30 – April 2, 2016)! Last year’s AWP was a success with our bookfair table and reading at Boneshaker Books. This year, you’ll be able to find us at Table 1157 and find information regarding our upcoming Spring in Newport, Rhode Island (April 22-25, 2016) , Summer in Narbonne & Barcelona (July 18-26, 2016), and Summer in Granada, Spain (July 28-August 5, 2016) Writing Retreats.
We’ll also be hosting our AWP Reading at Sabor y Cultura (located at 5625 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028) on Friday, April 1, 2016 from 4-7 pm. Featured Readers include Rita Banerjee, Jess Burnquist, Julialicia Case, Ariana Kelly, Gwen E. Kirby, Katie Knoll, Ellaraine Lockie, Ondrej Pazdirek, Heather Aimee O’Neill, Brenda Peynado, Esther Pfaff, Jessica Piazza, Jonathan Shapiro, Emily Skaja, and Emily Smith.