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Plato argues that human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. And before staging Kalidasa’s The Recognition of Śākuntalā, the director challenges his actress-lover: “As though in a painting, the entire audience has had their emotion colored through your melody. So now—what shall we perform to sustain the mood?” In this class, we will explore how creating vivid emotional worlds between characters and within storylines can build suspense, sustain drama, and lure the reader deeper in. If you’re currently working on a short story, novel, screenplay, theatrical play, lyrical essay, memoir, or narrative poem which has a unique emotional landscape, come stop by the Ruth Stone House for our next online creative writing workshop led by Rita Banerjee on October 3 and October 10. Students will read Rita Banerjee’s article, “Emotion and Suspense: The Essence of Rasa Theory,” do in-class writing exercises centering rasa, emotion, and suspense, and share out their work with classmates.
Rita Banerjee is a poet and nonfiction writer and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the George Polk School of Communications at LIU Brooklyn. She is the 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 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 a co-writer of Burning Down the Louvre (2022), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France, and she is currently working on a memoir and manifesto about how young women of color keep their cool against social, sexual, and economic pressure. Her work is represented by Folio Literary Management. Check out her work at ritabanerjee.com or on Twitter @Rita_Banerjee!
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