Skeena Reece

Poetry's spatial and aesthetic relationship to power

A conversation with Nicholas Perrin

Olympics protest in Vancouver, February 2010
Olympics protest in Vancouver, February 2010

Jules Boykoff

Whenever I went to Vancouver in both the run-up to and the aftermath of the Olympics I always sought out Nicholas Perrin for thought-provoking analysis, deep thinking, and good cheer.

Nicholas deftly blends creativity with brass-tacks organizing in ways that forge solidarity and hope. He is an artist, poet, and cultural activist who studies and works in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. A former member of the Kootenay School of Writing, Nicholas currently curates a series titled Imminent Future with a collective of friends who began working together during the Olympics. He is also a member of the Lower Mainland Painting Co, a conceptual artwork and research initiative seeking to situate shifting forms of value and the modes of labor and negotiation through which artists work and dialogue amidst broader social forces and struggles. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, he teamed up with Cecily Nicholson and Am Johal to create the “Safe Assembly Project” at the VIVO Media Arts Centre during the Olympic moment in 2010.

Reading Resistance at the Olympic Tent Village

A conversation with Mercedes Eng

Mercedes Eng reading at the Olympic Tent Village
Mercedes Eng reading at the Olympic Tent Village

Jules Boykoff

In my last post I wrote about poets’ involvement in activism around the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. One poet who was active during the Olympics moment was Mercedes Eng.

Mercedes Eng explores racialized oppression—locally, on the West Coast, nationally, and internationally—and how this oppression is underpinned by colonizing language and racist representation. Her first chapbook, February 2010, is a poem set in the context of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and is a thinking through and responding to the media and advertising, censorship, art, nationalism, diversity of tactics, and First Nations land rights. Her second chapbook, knuckle sandwich, juxtaposes text from local mainstream media coverage of the missing and murdered women of Vancouver with reportage of the Canadian “liberation” of women in Afghanistan in order to explore state violence against racialized women. She works collaboratively with Press Release and Standard Ink & Copy Press poetry collectives. A current creative project considers her lived experience with sex-work in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, using non-standard English to explore and to resist the ways in which victimhood is constructed.

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