It is not always required for a poet to be the speaker, because he may be writing from a different point of view, or in the voice of another race, gender, or even a material item. In a poetry, it frequently appears as a persona or voice.
Poetry has no single definition, and varies greatly between genres and styles. Poems can range from just a few lines, such as limericks and sonnets, to hundreds of verses. Some examples of famous poems include "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats, and "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. There are many more.
Generally speaking, yes, all poems are spoken by someone. Even if the poem is written in prose, like in the case of a lyric or ballad, the author still speaks them aloud. You can think of it as a form of self-expression that most people use language to communicate their feelings and ideas.
Some poets, such as William Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson, have been regarded as having a poetic talent since they were children. Other poets, such as Walt Whitman or Allen Ginsberg, developed their skills later in life. No matter when or how someone learns to write poems, everyone needs to start with something simple.
Every poetry has a voice, which may be referred to as a speaker (or, in some cases, speakers, if there is more than one person speaking the poem). Generally, poems with more than one speaker are identified by numbering or naming the speakers. For example, a poem called "Speaker 1" and "Speaker 2" would indicate that these are two speakers.
Some poets may choose not to identify speakers of a poem. For example, T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" contains no speaker labels. Instead, the poem is told from the first-person point of view of its main character, who is asking questions about love and life. Many readers assume that this poem is spoken by its main character, but this cannot be confirmed since there are no markers indicating who is speaking.
Poems with multiple speakers often give each speaker a different role to play in the story being told. For example, a poem might have a narrator who tells the story by describing what he/she sees and hears, while certain characters within the story speak words and act out actions. These characters could include people, animals, objects -- anything that can talk or act like someone or something else.
In addition to speakers, some poems also name characters.
Poetry, like fiction, has a speaker—someone who serves as the poem's voice. Often, the poet is the speaker. At times, the speaker can adopt a persona—the voice of someone else, including animals and inanimate things. These add-ons to the tradition are called "personification."
In addition to the poet, other voices can be heard in poetry reading audience participation poems, songs, or chants incorporated into the text. These additions are called "tagged poems".
A tagged poem may have only one singer, as in a choral work. But more commonly, multiple singers join in a poem, either separately or together. The number involved may vary from two to many hundreds or even thousands. The most famous example of a tagged poem is "The Lord's Prayer" by John Milton (1608–1674). Other examples include "Give Me Your Hands" by Leonard Cohen and "Prayer for Everyone" by Bob Dylan.
Sometimes poems are written with specific people in mind as speakers. These are called "personal poems." Some famous personal poets include John Donne, George Herbert, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
People often identify with the speaker, so hearing a poem read out loud can be inspiring or depressing, depending on the mood of the listener. A speaker poem can also make certain ideas or topics easier to understand!
To identify the speaker, the reader or listener must do more than simply hear the poem's voice. Other characteristics of the poetry, such as the context, structure, descriptive details, metaphorical language, and rhythms, should be examined to assist discover the speaker's identity. For example, if the poem is written in first person present tense, it can only be spoken by its author.
Poets often use other poets' work as a source of inspiration for their own poems. In doing so, they often change names, places, and events to suit their own purposes. This is known as "allusion." Alluding poems are easy to miss unless you know what to look for. Examples of allusions include references to famous people, places, or events that have been altered slightly or combined together with other poems or texts to make one large image or idea. Readers who are aware of these types of references will enjoy reading more poems because they will be discovering new meanings behind the lines.
Also relevant to understanding speakers in poems is knowledge of poetic devices. These are elements in the text that help shape the meaning of the piece by emphasizing certain words, phrases, or sentences. For example, parallel structures are two passages or statements that read almost exactly the same but with slight differences that contribute to their overall meaning. A pronoun is an element that refers to someone or something other than the speaker or writer.
Poetic voice, it turns out, is difficult to describe, but it has to do with the distinguishing traits of a certain poet's work. Poetic voice is anchored in the usage and recurrence of distinct features—technical elements that distinguish a poem as belonging to a specific poet. These features may be words, phrases, or even whole lines that appear with unusual frequency, consistency, or both.
Some scholars believe that only poets who have published multiple volumes of work are eligible to have their own literary movement or school. Others believe that living poets can also have a distinctive poetic voice if they use techniques that are unique from other poets' works. Still others argue that a poet does not need to have any particular volume of work published to be included in these movements or schools; instead, they say, it's enough that one or more poems by the poet be recognized as embodying this style.
It is difficult to generalize about what makes for a distinctive poetic voice because each case must be analyzed individually. But some common traits include unusual word choices or patterns, unusual structures or forms, and/or special methods of sequencing events in time or within a piece of writing.
A distinct poetic voice can be identified by looking at several different types of evidence. First, certain words or phrases that appear with high frequency in a poet's work are good candidates for identifying his or her unique style.