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    ISBN: 9781772011814 | Paperback

    112 pages | Pub. Date: 20171016
    5.5 W × 8.5 H × .75 D inches
    Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE011000
    Rights: WORLD

    Or find Prison Industrial Complex Explodes in your local bookstore

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. This legislation criminalizes Indigenous peoples’ attempts to protect their traditional and unceded territories from ecological destruction by classifying their actions as acts of terrorism, at the same time that it criminalizes refugees, who as victims of colonization and globalization, attempt to flee genocide and poverty yet are targeted as suspected terrorists. Simultaneously, the incarceration of Indigenous people, refugees, and people of colour is rapidly increasing and corporations eagerly court the government for private-public partnerships to fund the building of new prisons and detention centres.

Eng’s father was an addict who supported his habit by breaking the law. As a result, she spent her formative years acquiring intimate knowledge of the Canadian prison system through visitation rights. The impetus for Prison Industrial Complex Explodes was the discovery of a cache of her father’s prison correspondence: letters from the federal government stating their intention to deport him because of his criminal record; letters from prison justice advocate Michael Jackson advising her father on deportation; letters from the RCMP regarding the theft of her father’s property, a gold necklace, while in transport to prison; letters from family members and friends; letters from Eng and her brother. The cold formality of the government letters in accidental juxtaposition with the emotion of the personal letters struck a creative spark that led to the writing of poems in this collection.

Winner 2018 BC Book Prize: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

"Her lines reveal why she is one of the most studied and visionary writers in Canada today."
—Billy-Ray Belcourt, The Capilano Review

By Mercedes Eng

Mercedes Eng teaches and writes in Vancouver, on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories. She is the author of Mercenary English and Prison Industrial Complex Explodes.

Read more about Mercedes Eng

news | 2020-03-25
An excerpt from Mercedes Eng's new book, my yt mama

…mama, writing, “[h]er books Mercenary English and Prison Industrial Complex Explodes are sharply observed and incredibly …

news | 2020-03-02
Mercedes Eng's my yt mama has arrived!

…to her BC Book Prize-winning book of poetry, Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, Eng continues her poetic investigation of racism …

news | 2019-03-14
Save the date: Talonbooks Spring Launch!

…Mercedes Eng, author of the BC Book Prize–winning Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, will be hosting. Wednesday, April 3 Doors at …

news | 2018-10-17
Mercedes Eng's Mercenary English has arrived in-house!

…published Eng’s second collection of poetry, Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, which expounds upon certain themes and motifs … Livesay Poetry Prize. Mercenary English and Prison Industrial Complex Explodes make natural companions, and, as such, Talon is …

news | 2018-05-08
Prison Industrial Complex Explodes wins the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize!

…heartfelt congratulations to Mercedes Eng, whose Prison Industrial Complex Explodes received the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize on … Friday, May 4. The impetus for Prison Industrial Complex Explodes was the discovery of a cache of Eng’s father’s …

news | 2018-03-12
Kirton and Eng short-listed for BC Book Prizes!

…Kirton’s An Honest Woman and Mercedes Eng’s Prison Industrial Complex Explodes have both been nominated. The BC Book Prizes, …

news | 2018-03-05
Poetry readings across Canada this week

…on Wednesday, in Kelowna, Mercedes Eng reads from Prison Industrial Complex Explodes: 5 PM at Mosaic Books (411 Bernard Avenue). …

news | 2017-10-24
New poetry in the house!

…available! What a smashing set of books this is! Prison Industrial Complex Explodes by Mercedes Eng Wayside Sang by Cecily Nicholson …

news | 2017-08-16
Talon poets in Contemporary Verse 2: Convergence

…add the LaFrance, add Mercedes Eng’s upcoming Prison Industrial Complex Explodes (due out Fall 2017), and we have a handsome brick …