States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | About Anita Patel

Anita Patel States of PoetryAnita Patel has had work published in various journals including Conversations (Pandanus Press, ANU), Block 9, Burley Journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Demos Journal, Mascara Literary Review, and Not Very Quiet Journal. Her poem 'Women’s Talk' won the ACT Writers Centre Poetry Prize in 2004. She has performed her work at many events, including at the Canberra Multicultural Festival, the Poetry on the Move Festival, Noted Festival, Floriade Fringe Festival, and at Word in Hand in Glebe. She was the feature poet for the Mother Tongue Showcase at Belconnen Arts Centre in 2016. She was the guest editor for Issue Two of Not Very Quiet Journal.


'My poetry comes from lived experience and ordinary moments – from connections with nature, with people, with objects and with places. I have lived in Canberra for decades. This city, with its four seasons, perfect light, and soft-painted hills, is firmly embedded in my heart. I walk around the lake just about every day and there is always something (sometimes almost imperceptible) that stops me in my tracks and takes my breath away. 'Winter Pageant' and 'Mr. Darwin's Room' are Canberra poems.

While I am as Australian as a pair of sandy thongs, I am also part of the Asian diaspora. My mixed heritage (Indian, Malay, Portuguese) is tightly woven into my identity. 'Cane Cutter’s Bride: Museum of Fiji' and 'Wajah / Muka' articulate the bond that I have with my language, my history and my cultural roots. 'Cane Cutter’s Bride' and 'Women’s Talk' are poems about women. 'Cane Cutter’s Bride' was inspired by an old photo of a young Indian bride in the Museum of Fiji. I felt a profound empathy for this unknown woman who, like so many of my own female relatives, was forced to be resilient despite having no power and no choices. 'Women’s Talk' is about the complex, subtle, and textured relationship that we, women, have with one another. Finally, I simply love words – the sound and shape of them, the way that they sit on a blank page. Poetry is all about making words sing perfectly together. Honing a poem is the most joyful task.'

Anita Patel


Cane Cutter's Bride: Museum of Fiji


Winter Pageant

Women's Talk

Mr. Darwin's Room (National Museum of Australia)