Ankita Saxena

poet, performer, workshop facilitator

The First Protest

They are used to her tantrums: head flung on the lap

of a supermarket trolley, one lollipop away from submission.


They are, in fact, expecting some form of violent refusal: a bite back

perhaps, or a wail – anticipating the necessity of coercion.


But this time, she is still: unmoving and unwavering.


Tongue imitating the first kick; throat clearing space for pent up

air; mouth growing bigger and rounder and louder, rising in solidarity


with sound, in defiance against silence, reaching completion

in the single syllable protest poem: ‘No’ –


that is to say stop, that is to say enough, that is to say

yes – I am here and I will be heard.

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About Ankita

Ankita Saxena is the author of Mother | Line, which released in April 2023, with Verve Poetry Press. She read English Literature at Jesus College, Oxford (2014-2017), where she was Head of Events at Oxford University Poetry Society, and President of the Turl Street Arts Festival. She has been commended in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award three times. She is a Barbican Young Poet alumnus, part of the Octavia Poetry Collective, and one half of the ORIGINS Poetry Duo. Her poetry is published in Wasafiri, Modern Poetry in Translation and Bath Magg. She has performed widely across the UK, including live at Hammersmith Appollo, with The Guilty Feminist.

By day, she works at Social Finance, a not-for-profit social enterprise, helping to tackle complex and enduring issues in society and create lasting and widespread change.

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