In this work, we realize arrays of extremely and controllably bent nanowires comprising lattice mismatched and highly asymmetric GaAs/Al0.5In0.5As core-shell heterostructures. Strain sharing across the nanowire heterostructures is sufficient to bend vertical nanowires over backward to contact either neighboring nanowires or the substrate itself, presenting new possibilities for designing nanowire networks and interconnects. Photoluminescence spectroscopy on bent nanowire heterostructures reveals that spatially varying strain fields induce charge carrier drift toward the tensilely strained outside of the nanowires, and that the polarization response of absorbed and emitted light is controlled by the bending direction. This unconventional strain field is employed for light emission by placing an active region of quantum dots at the outer side of a bent nanowire core to exploit the carrier drift and tensile strain. These results demonstrate how bending in nano-heterostructures opens up new degrees of freedom for strain and device engineering.