The futility of “finding” one’s “voice”

What I say here relates to the “What is an aesthetic?” series (especially the third one).

A few weeks ago, hearing a young poet say he is trying to find his voice sounded archaic to me.  Archaic isn’t the right word, but it does the job.  What I mean is, it felt like outdated idealism.

First of all, any language is a form of voice (really, any sound, even if it isn’t language may be considered a voice if the source is sentient).  And the sentient is often capable of many voices, as the sentient adjusts to context.  There isn’t “a” voice to “find.”  There are many voices and they are, simply if said/uttered.

The deprecation in that young poet was sad.  I regret not offering my stance, but this was a loud room filled with more than just voices.  And he wasn’t talking to me.  What’s a voice to interrupt?

Anyway, of course, this notion of “finding one’s voice” stems from the same mindset that wants you to pronounce your singular aesthetic—a belief in an individual’s singularity and consistence.  But I believe the individual is in flux from context to context (and a product of the chronology of these contexts); the individual is hardly an individual, much less an individual with singularities.

You are a chorus, so sing.  Or interrupt yourself.

Of course, this also relates to a notion of the poem’s “I” relating to the poet’s “I,” that this will somehow instill an authenticity to the poem.  But doesn’t it seem ridiculous to think that authenticity can be found?  Wouldn’t authenticity be what simply is?  And, why should the poem’s “I” relate linearly to the poet’s “I”?  Why not laterally, as I have discussed in “Making poetry go beyond oneself”?

What do you think of my definition of “voice”?  What does “voice” mean to you?

Do you have a voice or many voices?  What about your poetry?  Why/how?