Nisha Patel is an award-winning Indo-Canadian poet & artist. She is the City of Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, and the 2019 Canadian Individual Slam Champion, and the 2021 Regional Writer in Residence at the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries. She is a recipient of the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund Award. Nisha has performed across Canada and the world, from Glasgow to Seoul. Her poetry speaks to themes of race, feminism, and identity, focusing strongly on her struggles and triumphs as a woman of colour. She strives to build strong relationships, mentorship, and opportunities for artists around her, believing in the possibility and forgiveness of the Edmonton arts scene. Nisha is an alumnus of the University of Alberta School of Business. Nisha works to further her goal of building a stronger artistic community through living in her truth.
I read poetry in class and through online writing websites like Fictionpress. I didn't enjoy writing poetry as I found it challenging and was limited in my understanding of the creativity and depth of the form. I didn't enjoy poetry until I left high school and university. There are no poems that truly stick out to me, and it wasn't until I was in my twenties that I rediscovered a deep love of the art form.
I started writing poetry at the age of 22 at the end of business school at the University of Alberta. I didn't consider myself a poet until I was being featured in my first shows and attended my first national competition, but after that it was hard to turn back to not being a poet anymore.
A poet's job is to reflect the truth of their experience and of the times that they live in, either through reimagining themselves or being unforgivingly honest.
I think I would choose to memorize Canisia Lubrin's work, if only to help with my own writing. Her voice can't be imitated, but her words are powerful enough to stay in my mind and I think that having strong literary influences improves the work around it, including my own.