If Pressed—the second collection of poetry from Andrew McEwan—explores forms of pressurized and pressurizing language as a means to shed light on the depressions we live among.
Overlapping language of fear and speculation gain momentum in these poems, where layers of atmospheric and emotional lexicons—ranging from descriptions of the mid-2000s financial crisis and subsequent recession, to writing on melancholia from the 1600s, to weather reports and condo listings, to pharmaceutical sales pitches and literary book reviews—focus attention on the ways that anxiety so easily and completely infiltrates our daily personal and public experiences.
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Praise for If Pressed:
“The poems in Andrew McEwan’s If Pressed form a ‘Book of Disquiet’ that revises Pessoa’s gloomy wanderings for a 21st North American century, in a world where ideologico-social retrogressions meld science and market consumption into one. Pressed here, the consumptional compositional mind struggles valiantly in its body like a pinned bug or flower to enfront the dystopias of Now. This is taut and accomplished work.”
“This book is like a clock. This book cares. This book points to the effects of imagination. This book welcomes you to the crisis economy. This book is historically reliable. This book is bound by ligaments. This book is a sound buying decision. This book promotes profit. This book comes close to the truth. This book is a mutual triumph. This book restores connections. This book departs limits. This book splinters paths. This book is a subtle luxury. This book is depressing. I love this book.”
—Jordan Abel, Winner of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize for Injun
Press Coverage for If Pressed:
Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Poetry Preview —49th Shelf
“[McEwan’s] poems both imbibe and engage a fierce restlessness, unable to stand still, moving in and around anxieties, engaging depression and anxiety as it exists, writing deep from the inside.” —rob mclennan’s blog
“McEwan’s poems operate best when they lean towards inventory: the brilliant final poem, Review, gathers found statements about books that readers found depressing, and offers McEwan’s own best review: “Yes, this book is depressing, but in that rare beautiful way some things can be.” —Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
“If Pressed mines Goodreads reviews (and a Twitter bot that used to retweet book reviews), ads for crystals, environmental reports, early studies of depression, and the title of this reviewer’s favourite Bauhaus song . . . these methods are ways of eroding dominant narratives and making space for new ways of viewing issues like mental health, environmental concerns, settler-Indigenous relations, and global capital.” —Dani Spinosa, Canadian Literature
Andrew McEwan is the author of repeater (a finalist for the 2013 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award) and numerous chapbooks, including Conditional and Can’t tell if this book is depressing or if I’m just sad. His poetry and other writing have appeared in Canadian Literature, Lemon Hound, and Open Letter, among many other North American venues. Originally from Bright’s Grove, Ontario, he now lives in St. Catharines.