news | Wednesday March 25, 2020

An excerpt from Mercedes Eng's new book, my yt mama

We are so pleased that BC and Yukon Book Prize–winner Mercedes Eng’s new book, my yt mama, has arrived in-house. my yt mama is a collection of poems that considers historic and contemporary colonial violence in the Canadian prairies, a settler geography and state of mind that irrevocably shaped Eng’s understanding of race as person of colour born and raised in Treaty 7 Territory in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

In a recent paper edition of the Globe and Mail, the Paper Hound bookstore recommended my yt mama, writing, “[h]er books Mercenary English and Prison Industrial Complex Explodes are sharply observed and incredibly poignant/personal long poems; her latest title my yt mama just came out and is, predictably, quite brilliant.” If you’re in Vancouver, call the Paper Hound at 604-428-1344 to order your copy; if you’re outside of Vancouver, order at

Here, we are sharing a three-poem sequence from my yt mama.

cover of my yt mama

how my father saw my yt mama

unlike my dad’s mostly realist copper engravings
don’t ask’s surrealist imagery perplexed me as a kid

an emaciated male figure holding a set of scales
rides a skinny horse across a vast desert
lines of longitude radiating out to provide perspective
an oversized broken syringe
an hourglass in the foreground
the vanishing point a ballerina, my yt mama, pirouetting
at the base of a castle-topped mountain
my yt mama the vanishing point
my yt mama the muse

how I saw my yt mama

while in group therapy for drug recovery we did a lot of art
and one exercise was to create an image of our moms

a feminized figure composed of puzzle pieces outlined in red
a big question mark at the centre of her head

how my yt mama saw my father

I think my mom saw my dad like a lot of women saw my dad

well proportioned and fit as fuck
long thick straight black hair
sharp cheekbones wide smile
easy laugh charm for miles
tattoos that said I got a story you wanna hear
a visible lack of underpants that said I’m ready

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