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Nisha Patel

Nisha Patel is a queer spoken word poet and artist and workshop leader. She is the City of Edmonton’s 8th Poet Laureate. Patel earned a BCom from the University of Alberta where she majored in business economics and law. In 2019, she co-founded a national queer femme South Asian artist collective, Maza Arts, and in 2020 co-founded Moon Jelly House, a publishing house centring the work of marginalized poets. Patel has authored and co-authored several chapbooks published by Glass Buffalo Publishing.


Coconut: Poems

Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2021.
Available to members of the university community as an e-book

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

In her debut collection, Canadian National Slam Champion Nisha Patel commands her formidable insight and youthful, engaged voice to relay experiences of racism, sexuality, empowerment, grief, and love. These are vitally political, feminist poems for young women of colour, with bold portrayals of confession, hurt, and healing.

Coconut rises fiercely like the sun. These poems bestow light and warmth and the ability to witness the world, but they ask for more than basking; they ask readers to grow and warn that they can be burnt. Above all, Nisha Patel’s work questions and challenges propriety and what it means to be a good woman, second-generation immigrant, daughter, consumer, and lover.

Awards and Honours

2022 Regional Book of the Year (Alberta Book Publishing Awards) (Finalist)
2022 Book Design (Alberta Book Publishing Awards)(Co-winner) — NeWest Press, designed by Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design


A Fate Worse than Death

Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2024
forthcoming April 2024

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

A Fate Worse than Death is a stunning poetic investigation of the worthiness of disabled life as told through the author’s evaluation of her own medical records over the course of a decade. Living with treatment-resistant diabetes, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and complex chronic pain, Nisha Patel reveals how her multiple disabilities intertwine with her day-to-day life, even when care and treatments are not available. As she works through bouts of illness, neglect, and care, Patel reveals how poetry provides her a way to resist the sway of medical hegemony and instead offer complex accounts of pain, sickness, and anger, but also love.

Navigating the menial and capitalist systems of health care and paperwork, documentation, and forms, Patel uses clinical texts in visual poems that show how words like patient and client underscore medical access and denial of coverage more than words like person and care. Patel asks us to consider if her life is worth living – and saving. The future of her disabled body and her desire for it is a building meditation as the collection progresses, ending not so much with a finite ending of cured illness and disease than with a look at how we can embody hope and joy in a disabled body, as it is the body that, like time, goes on.

Poetry (Chapbook)

Limited Success

[Edmonton]: Glass Buffalo, c2018.

Poetry (Chapbook)

Not a Disorder: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Poems

Toronto: Gap Riot Press, 2022.


Nisha Patel personal website

Publisher Arsenal Pulp Press

Publisher NeWest Press

Publisher Glass Buffalo

Publisher Gap Riot Press