Voice is an expression denoting the comprehensive style of a speaker adopted by the author in a poem.

Elements of Voice

Voice is the compound sum of employed poetic devices and grammatical rules associated with a particular poet’s literary style. It is what distinguishes poets from each other. The following are eight elements of how a poet may define and construct their literary voice:

Syntax: the arrangement of language and order of words used to convey the poem’s content.

Poetic Diction: the language, including word choice and syntax, that sets poetry apart from other forms of writing.

Repetition: the poetic technique of repeating the same word or phrase multiple times within a poem or work.

In addition to the repetition of words or phrases, the repetition of sounds, i.e., alliteration or consonance, are other ways poets will feature in their poetry that influences the poem’s rhythm or meter, as well as tone.

Rhyme: the correspondence of sounds in words or lines of verse. 

Form: the structure of a poem, including its line lengths, line breaks, meter, stanza lengths, and rhyme scheme.

Every poem has and is written in a particular form whether it be free verse or blank verse, or writing in a specific form such as a ghazal, pantoum, or sonnet.  

Meter: the measured pattern of rhythmic accents in a line of verse. 

Similar to form, every poem has rhythm, and there is music found within each poetic line or verse. Some poems adhere to a formal convention such as iambic pentameter, other poems may follow more of a colloquial rhythm, which is a prevalent feature of modern and contemporary poetry.

Tone: a literary device that conveys the author’s attitude toward the subject, speaker, or audience of a poem.

Imagery: language in a poem representing a sensory experience, including visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, and gustatory.