How to Determine the Voice of a Poem

Through a very basic accumulation of words, poems are often able to communicate an incredible amount of experience and meaning. Yet, understanding the involved aspects of a poem's complexity, such as determining its voice, can sometimes present a challenge. Learning to determine a poem's voice will enable a reader to better comprehend the emotion or feelings being communicated through poetry.

Read the poem silently to yourself, and then read it aloud. This will help you to identify with the actual sounds of the poem. Repeat if necessary.

Read each line separately, searching for the emotion or feeling being communicated through the poem's language.

Consider the various degrees of thought and complexity within the language of the poem. Is the poet speaking in character or in his or her own voice? For example, are the words from an object rather than a human, such as a leaf describing its own descent?

Determine if the poet is speaking as an individual or on behalf of a great audience.

Gather your thoughts and ideas, and write them down on a piece of paper. Based on your own research and analysis, draw a conclusion determining the voice of your poem.

About the Author

Kate Agliata began writing in 2002 and has written for the “Niagara Gazette” and “Bee Newspapers” and has also worked as the editor of the “Clarence Bee.” She has articles published online at Got2BeGreen and WeTeach. Agliata holds a Master of Arts in English from Georgia Southern University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from State University of New York, Buffalo.

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