Wallace Stevens Encounters Hyper-Connected World



Seventy years ago, I addressed the pressure

History applies to creativity and society,

Let us say, news more pretentious than

Any description of it, but that pressure


Built over ten years, and lead to war.

First was email, then the cell phone.

First taped warfare, then live battles.

First CNN, then twenty-four-

Hour news cycles. Back then I said


Pressure is incalculable,

But that ten-year-weight was

The pressure of a light breeze,

And here we are now living

At the bottom of the ocean.


Every second a million tweets,

Each barely an imagined thought,

Two-hundred friends burbling inane

Scribbles in every ear, a thousand

Humane causes demand attention.


Immediateness infinite,

Contemporaneity compressed

To instants, a new era of the imagination

Begun in each one, a great noise

Washes out our presence.

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