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“The Soloist Performs with an Orchestra of Events,” The 2016 Rabindranath Tagore Modern Indian Literature Lecture, by Ranjit Hoskote

Ranjit Hoskote, Indian Poet, Tagore Lecture 2016, Indian Art Critic

Friday, September 23, 2016, Guerlac Room, A.D. White House, Cornell University Central Campus at 4:30p.m.

Ranjit Hoskote has long been drawn to the form of the concerto, both for its own beauty and elegance, and as a metaphor for the poet’s practice. The poet is a soloist, in this metaphor, while the world of events provides the orchestra, against and in concert with which the poet must unfold her or his explorations. The relationship between soloist and orchestra embraces a variety of modes: dialogue, contest, divergence, and collaboration. In this year’s Tagore Modern Indian Literature Lecture, Hoskote will address the relationship between contemporary poetic utterance in India and the cultural and political circumstances in which it is articulated. He will discuss some of the contexts in which his own poetry is written: these include internal diaspora, multilingualism, translation, ecological crisis, transcultural encounter, and the gradual transition from a liberal public sphere to one marked by illiberal demagoguery. Hoskote will read from his recent poems, which engage with the historic relationship between humankind and the ocean, under the sign of the Anthropocene.

Ranjit Hoskote is a contemporary Indian poet, art critic, cultural theorist and independent curator.  He is author of five collections of poetry, Zones of AssaultThe Cartographer’s ApprenticeThe Sleepwalker’s ArchiveVanishing Acts: New and Selected Poems 1985-2005, and Central Time. Ranjit is also the author of I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded, based on 20 years of translation and research on 14th-century Kashmiri poet Lal Ded.  He has been a Visiting Writer and Fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 1995 and writer-in-residence at the Villa Waldberta in Munich in 2003.  In 2011, Ranjit curated the national pavilion of India at the Venice Biennale, entitled, “Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode.”  In 2012, Ranjit Hoskote collaborated with Ilija Trojanow to write Confluences: Forgotten Histories From East and West.

The Endowment in Modern Indian Literature was established in May 1999 thanks to the generous support of Professor Emeritus Narahari Umanath Prabhu and his wife Mrs. Suman (Sumi) Prabhu.  Professor and Mrs. Prabhu sought to honor Rabindranath Tagore, a celebrated literatus and musician, recognized as one of the great luminaries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information on Ranjit Hoskote, see here.