Mercenary English

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Pub Date: 11/27/2018

Pages: 144

Publisher: Talonbooks

Imprint: Talonbooks

ISBN 13: 9781772012194

ISBN 10: 177201219X

Price: $18.95

Mercenary English

By Mercedes Eng

Price: $18.95



About the Book

Mercenary English is a long poem that documents the author’s lived experience in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside survival sex trade in the 1990s, deploying her time on low track as a subversionary critical lens for exploring the physical, structural, and discursive violence of colonialism against Indigenous women and women of colour. In its strident and unsettling debut, Mercenary English seized “the politics of language” from the usual handlers and reassigned them to new terrains: the colonial battlefield, the racialized/radicalized body, and the insurgent neighbourhood. Now in its third reprint, the book includes a new afterword on gentrification in the Downtown Eastside, and an expansive conversation with poet and critic Fred Moten.

About the Book

Mercenary English seizes “the politics of language” and foregrounds the literal and figurative violence behind the euphemism “missing women.”


Mercedes Eng writes in Vancouver, on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples. She is the author of Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, winner of the 2018 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Her writing has appeared in Jacket 2, The Downtown East/The Volcano, on the sides of the Burrard and Granville Bridges as contributions to public art projects, and in the collectively produced chapbooks, r/ally (No One Is Illegal), Surveillance, and M’aidez (Press Release). She is currently at work on a women’s prison reader and a detective novel set in her grandfather’s Chinatown supper club.