Tuning Your

One way to sharpen your voice is to listen to the voices of other poets. In a typical poem, you will hear distinctive tones, just like string instruments in a quartet. Here are excerpts from famous poems and, in parentheses, adjectives to describe the tones I hear on the page:

THE CANONIZATION By John Donne

For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love, Or chide my palsy, or my gout,

My five gray hairs, or ruined fortune flout; . . .

(Voice: impatient, testy, self-effacing)

JENNY KISSED ME By Leigh Hunt

Jenny kissed me when we met,

Jumping from the chair she sat in;

Time, you thief, who love to get Sweets into your list, put that in!

(Voice: breathy, excited, bold)

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