Poetry is formal. Rhythm and form are closely related. Rhythm is componential. Form is paradigmatic. The qualities of the rhythmic components are the source of formal paradigms. Poetic paradigms are quadratic, organizing linguistic, rhetorical, and symbolic forms into four temporalities (cyclical time, centroidal time, linear time, and relative time) following the four components of rhythm (meter, grouping, prolongation, and theme). I call this approach to poetry “temporal poetics.” Using this “temporal poetics,” this essay reads a poem by Wallace Stevens, “Domination of Black.”

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