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Nisha Patel

Coming Soon: A Fate Worse than Death

Coming Soon: A Fate Worse than Death

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By Nisha Patel | Arsenal Pulp Press (2024)

Poems that interrogate the complexities of disability, based on the author’s evaluation of her own medical records

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 and generalized anxiety disorder, and complex chronic pain, Nisha Patel reveals how her multiple disabilities intertwine with her day-to-day life, even when care or treatments on offer are not available. As she works through her bouts of illness, neglect, and care, Patel reveals how poetry provides a way for her to resist the sway of medical hegemony, and instead offer complex accounts of pain, sickness, 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 more medical access and denial of coverage than words like person and care. As she asks us to consider if her life is worth living—and saving—the future of Patel’s disabled body and her desire for it is a building meditation as the collection progresses, ending with less of a finite ending of cured illness and disease and instead a look at how we can embody hope and joy in a disabled body, as it is the body, like time, that goes on.  

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