Poetry and Time

Until the 19th century, given society’s agrarian base, there was a sense of certain natural rhythms in life. This sense disintegrated with the industrialization of society and World Wars I and II. Was Imagism, with its precise concreteness, an attempt to simplify and get hold of a disintegrating world? Mid-century, the nuclear threat further skewed the relationship. The need to master time (“time management”) became more intense and elaborate, as schedules were laid out not by the farmer’s seasons but by the Daytimer minute—ironically, accelerating time. Rebelling against the Organization Man, Beat poetry sprawled into harangue. And then we got Covid. With its initial enforced isolation and working from home, how has it altered our sense of time, and will that become apparent in the new poetry we write?