Clips from New York University’s student newspaper, the Washington Square News.

Student poet wins publishing deal

When CAS sophomore Moumita Basuroychowdhury bravely submitted her personal diary to the Oblongata Chapbook Contest, she did not expect anything to come of it. However, Basuroychowdhury’s won first prize — a publishing deal.

Basuroychowdhury’s first book, “Live Nude,” was released on Amazon and Barnes & Noble on Feb. 28.

“Live Nude” is a 48-page book of poetry with a few short stories that draw from entries in Basuroychowdhury’s diary.

The Oblongata Chapbook Contest is a national competition held by the Medulla Review Publishing. The contest was open to works of experimental poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Basuroychowdhury’s competitors included many experienced and published poets and authors.

“Live Nude” was created during Basuroychowdhury’s Impossible Writing class in fall 2012.

“I was supposed to send in an assignment but I accidentally sent in my diary,” she said. “A classmate complimented it. Most of what is published now was submitted to the contest.”

Basuroychowdhury started writing at the beginning of high school and said she knew she would be a writer from a young age.

“I was aiming to write a book farther down the line,” she said. “I didn’t think I would have a published book of poetry because I didn’t think I was a poet.”

Basuroychowdhury, who is currently studying at NYUDC, describes her style as surrealist. She cites poets Sylvia Plath and Charles Bukowski as inspirations for her work.

“These influences really shape my writing,” said Basuroychowdhury.

Seth Borenstein, a professor of journalism at NYUDC and Basuroychowdhury’s current teacher, is very impressed with his student’s poetry.

“[Her poetry] is vivid and vibrant, it uses verbs strongly, and doesn’t rely on adjectives and adverbs,” Borenstein said. “If you’ve read her poetry, you’re not surprised that she won.”

Borenstein was also surprised to find out that Basuroychowdhury was a poet, especially as an economics major.

“She does not fit the stereotype of a poet,” he said. “She is a little shy, and in the world of economics, we don’t expect strong and vivid writers.”

CAS junior Omid Golmohammadi is familiar with Basuroychowdhury’s poetry. He said that “Mowgli” is one of his favorite poems from the book. “Mowgli” is a poem about a little girl in which the narrator’s strong personality shines through.

“I see her fierce stubbornness, her immense curiosity and her independence,” Golmohammadi said.

Another of Golmohammadi’s favorites from the book is the short story “Clock Tower.”

“It was just such an amazing piece of social commentary told from the point of view of a clock tower,” Golmohammadi said. “By the end of it, I was actually sad and I felt for a clock tower. And that is what good writing is supposed to be like.”

Basuroychowdhury keeps 10 different journals and avidly posts her work on Tumblr. She said she plans to submit her work to more contests and is interested in trying slam poetry. She advises aspiring poets to carry around a journal and to never be afraid to have someone else read what they have written.

“Chances are, it’s good,” Basuroychowdhury said.

(Disclaimer: Moumita Basuroychowdhury has been a contributing writer for WSN.)

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 3 print edition. Madeleine Ball is a contributing writer. Email her at features@nyunews.com.

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Beatles return to New York City in library exhibition

Fifty years after their first visit, the Beatles have returned to New York City, this time  in the form of an exhibition curated by the Grammy Museum at the New York Public Library. The exhibition, Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles! covers the history of the Beatles’ influence in America, from the band’s premiere on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 to their final full concert in 1966 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.

Museum curator and NYU alumna Barbara Cohen-Stratyner said the items featured in the exhibition are a project of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that were brought to the NYPL. She said the tour of Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles! complements the Beatles’ 50-year anniversary appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” on Feb. 9, 1964.

“The exhibit displays the profound impact of pop music in America,” Cohen-Stratyner said.

As museum-goers enter the exhibit, “All My Loving” plays over the speakers. The collection begins with the band’s influences and moves chronologically through the band’s time in the United States. The exhibit includes concert footage, newspaper headlines from the era and rare photographs. There are installations and interactive pieces such as a vocal booth, a replica of a 1964 teenage girl’s bedroom and audiovisual history lessons.

One of the most notable items is George Harrison’s guitar.

“People tiptoe around it,” Cohen-Stratyner said.

The exhibit also features an interactive lesson on drums from Ringo Starr.

Neil Offen, from Chapel Hill, N.C., visited the museum and said he was most fascinated by the interactive drum.

“It makes you feel like you’re a part of the band,” Offen said. “[The exhibit] combines memorabilia, music and Beatle fandom all in one.”

Myra Yousef, a New York City resident and exhibit visitor, said she was impressed by the details included in the replica of a teenage girl’s bedroom, including catalogues and posters by the nightstand.

“I love [the recreation],” Yousef said. “It’s accurate.”

Offen said the showing could have benefited from expanding the exhibit’s scope.

“The exhibit is focused on only [a] few years,” Offen said. “You don’t get a sense of how the band started or, more interestingly, ended.”

The exhibit will remain at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, 40 Lincoln Center Place until May 10. Admission is free.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 24 print edition. Madeleine Ball is a contributing writer. Email her at features@nyunews.com. 

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