Coconut Launch / Nisha's Birthday

Event Date: 
May 17, 2021
Location: 
Zoom

On May 17th, 7pm Mountain, Canadian Individual Slam Champion and Edmonton Poet Laureate, Nisha Patel, is launching her debut poetry collection, Coconut, and celebrating her birthday! So join Nisha and award-nominated poet Bertrand Bickersteth (The Response of Weeds) for a reading, followed by a Q&A.

The event will be on Zoom. Register via Eventbrite, and the Zoom link will be emailed to you in the email confirmation from Eventbrite. Email production@newestpress.com if you have any issues. Official booksellers: Glass Bookshop and Shelf Life Books.

About the Books:

Coconut

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.

The Response of Weeds

Longlisted for the 2021 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award!

Finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry and The 2020 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize at the 2021 Alberta Literary Awards!

A 2020 CBC Poetry Book of the Year!

Bertrand Bickersteth’s debut poetry collection explores what it means to be Black and Albertan through a variety of prisms: historical, biographical, and essentially, geographical. The Response of Weeds offers a much-needed window on often overlooked contributions to the province’s character and provides personal perspectives on the question of Black identity on the prairies. Through these rousing and evocative poems, Bickersteth uses language to call up the contours of the land itself, land that is at once mesmerizing as it is dismissively effacing. Such is Black identity here on this paradoxical land, too.

About the Authors:

Nisha Patel

Nisha Patel is a queer spoken word poet and artist. She is the City of Edmonton’s 8th Poet Laureate and the 2019 Canadian Individual Slam Champion. She is a prominent organizer and community builder, having worked with festivals across Canada, participating in both the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and the Canadian Individual Slam Championship. Her chapbooks, Limited Success, Water, Edmonton Girl, and I See You have reached audiences around the world with their discussions of family and grief, racism, and feminism. Over the years, Nisha has led many workshops and performed from small town Moose Jaw to metropolitan Seoul, South Korea over the course of four national and international tours. With nearly 200 performances to date, Nisha is committed to furthering her goals of reaching audiences that need it and the pursuit of excellence in spoken word. To that end, she has self-started community-focused residencies and mentored poets from multiple disciplines, curated showcases, taught performance and writing, and worked within new genres. In 2019, she co-founded a national queer femme South Asian artist collective, Maza Arts, and co-founded Moon Jelly House, a publishing house centring the work of marginalized poets. Her debut collection, Coconut, is a part of the Crow Said Poetry series.

Bertrand Bickersteth

Born in Sierra Leone, Bertrand Bickersteth grew up in Edmonton, Calgary, and Olds, Alberta. After an English degree at UBC, Bertrand continued studying in the U.K. and later taught in the U.S. A return to Alberta provided him with new insights on black identity and most of his writing has been committed to these perspectives ever since. Although he writes in several genres, anticlimactically, the topic is always the same: what does it mean to be black and from the prairies? He has also given many public talks including a TED Talk for BowValleyCollegeTEDx called The Weight of Words. His poetry has appeared in several publications, including most recently The Antigonish Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Fieldstone Review. He has also been published in The Great Black North and the forthcoming anthology The Black Prairie Archives (2020). In 2018, he was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. He lives in Calgary, teaches at Olds College, and writes everywhere.