What do we inherit from our mothers? From our grandmothers? From the legacy of colonisation and empire? Mother | Line, Ankita Saxena‘s debut poetry collection, charts lineage in all its forms, delving into female rage, compassion, and endurance. Drawing on the author’s British Asian heritage and experiences growing up as a woman in an increasingly violent world, this collection weaves together the personal and the political in ghazals, odes and specular poems, which hold a mirror to the world and to themselves. “We are daughters of Kali”, Saxena writes, and “mothers linger on the sides, hearing us become them; / our routines only theirs to thank for, our spices, / our blends, and even our greedy tongues.
“A sublime and considered collection, speaking to, and spanning lineage, inheritance, friendship; what it can mean to be a girl, a woman in the world — across continents, oceans, time.” – Rachel Long
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ankita Saxena is a British-Indian poet and performer. Her debut collection Mother | Line, will be published by Verve Poetry Press in April 2023, and is the culmination of over a decade of writing, editing and performing. She is a Barbican Young Poet alumnus, part of the Octavia Poetry Collective, led by Rachel Long, and one half of the poetry duo, ORIGINS. Her poetry is published in Wasafiri, Modern Poetry in Translation and Bath Magg. She has performed widely across the UK, most recently featuring at The Guilty Feminist Live Show at Hammersmith Apollo, and Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s Place. In December 2021, in celebration of International Migrants Day she curated and co-hosted ORIGINS Poetry Night – an interdisciplinary arts event at POP Brixton, which sold out and raised funds for The Migration Museum. She read English at Oxford, where she was Head of Events at Oxford University Poetry Society, and won the Isis Magazine ‘Borders and Bodies’ competition for her poem ‘Partition’. She has been commissioned by The Poetry Society, St James’ Piccadilly and St Paul’s Cathedral, and facilitated workshops for Shakespeare’s Globe, the Wellcome Collection, Lacuna Lit and the Orwell Youth Prize. She has been a featured poet at the Wasafiri New Writing Prize celebration, English PEN’s Sisterhood and Solidarity event, Newham Unlocked Festival, Gutter Street and Off The Chest. By day, she works for the not-for-profit organisation Social Finance, helping improve social outcomes for people at the sharpest ends of inequality.