Mercedes Eng’s first book is a risky and profoundly unsettling work of “auto-cartography,” documenting the struggles and politics of everyday life in Vancouver, foregrounding the literal and figurative violence behind the euphemism “missing women,” resistance to the Olympic-Industrial Complex, and other legacies of colonialism that continue to haunt the fragile “City of Glass.”
Mercedes Eng is a teacher and writer in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territory. She is the author of Mercenary English (CUE Books), which explores the potential of documentary poetics. Her work has appeared in West Coast Line, Canada and Beyond, The Capilano Review, and Geist. Much of her creative writing is grounded in struggles for social justice in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In 2014 she wrote a series of articles on poetry and gentrification in Vancouver for Jacket2, Penn University’s online poetry magazine, and in 2012–2013, she wrote several articles for a community newspaper, The Downtown East. She has spoken at the DTES Writer’s Jamboree at Carnegie Community Centre (April 2011) and lectured on visual representations of the missing and murdered women of Vancouver at Simon Fraser University (March 2011).
"a mercenary pursuit to unsettle, rechart, and set ships in motion. woman at the helm. “dead, almost and alive” making the money, women hold it down. honey cake. workshirts mended, an arsenal in her pocket, at the ready, everyday the frontlines. body of work on the table, more weapons in the drawer. “words are confusing…what’s the one for the big men dressed in boots and helmets holding shields, holding assault rifles?” interlocking violences to be disarmed, we call war. with all her might Eng speaks from experience, intervenes to right the vertical, spits hard words that shine like justice and the concrete trembles. “the eagles know”
— Cecily Nicholson