Mercedes Eng

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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