Mercedes Eng | Prison Industrial Complex Explodes
Mercedes Eng is a prairie-born poet of Chinese and settler descent living in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Eng’s creative praxis combines teaching in classrooms and in community, experiential knowledge, community organizing, independent study, and a hybrid poetics that deploys multiple forms of language from theory to memoir to official state documents to photography and visual art.
She is the author of Mercenary English (CUE Books 2013; Talonbooks 2018), a poem about violence and resistance in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, and Prison Industrial Complex Explodes (Talonbooks 2017), winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. my yt mama, documenting a childhood under white supremacy in Canadian prairies, drops in spring 2020. Her writing has appeared in Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers’ Poetry, Jacket 2, Asian American Literary Review, and The Abolitionist.
Mercedes Eng would've been faculty at Banff Centre's Poetry, Politics, and Embodiment Literary Arts Thematic Residency. That program had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Combining text from government questionnaires and reports, lyric poetry, and photography, Prison Industrial Complex Explodes examines the possibility of a privatized prison system in Canada leading up to then Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative government passing the Anti-Terrorism Act, also known as Bill C-51.