This article provides a complete reading of the rhythm and form of William Carlos Williams’s 1930 “Poem” (As the cat), using “temporal poetics,” a theory of poetic form based on rhythm. Rhythm is defined as having four major components—meter, grouping, prolongation, and theme—and it is the contrasting qualities of these rhythmic components that are the basis of poetic form. Poetic form is paradigmatic, organized into leveled quadratures whose levels, across paradigms, “correspond.” Corresponding forms create different “temporalities”—cyclical, centrodial, linear, and relative—which “correspond” to forms with the same organization in context, both world and mind.
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