9 julio, 2024

Poetic addressee: what it is, examples

What is the poetic addressee?

He poetic addressee in literary analysis is the person to whom a poem is addressed. This term is related to the lyrical subject, which is the narrative voice within a poem and should not be confused with the poet.

In this sense, the lyrical subject emits a message for a poetic addressee, which can be both an idealized person, who exists solely for the purposes of the work, and can also be a real individual.

The poetic addressee differs from the common addressee, since the latter can be anyone who reads the work, while the former is the ideal individual for whom the poem was written.

Examples of poetic addressee

«Soldier» by Giuseppe Ungaretti

It’s like

in autumn

over the trees


poetic recipient

To understand the addressee of this work, it is first necessary to understand its meaning, which is a bit cryptic because it is a poem inscribed in the hermetic movement.

This poem refers to war and means that the soldiers at the front are like leaves in autumn: at any moment they could fall.

In this work by the Italian Giuseppe Ungaretti, the poetic addressee is a soldier, as the title clearly expresses, who has participated in the war.

However, it could also be said that the poetic addressee is anyone who is unaware of the damage that war causes to the individuals who must experience it.

«Rhyme XVI» by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

If by rocking the blue bells

from your balcony,

you think that sighing the wind passes


knows that hidden among the green leaves

I sigh.

If when resonating confused behind your back

vague rumor,

Do you think that by your name he has called you?

distant voice,

knows that among the shadows that surround you

I’ll call you.

If he is disturbed fearful at night

your heart,

when you feel a breath on your lips


knows that although invisible next to you

I breathe.

poetic recipient

In this rhyme by Bécquer, the poetic addressee is the Beloved, with whom the poet is hopelessly in love. An idealized woman.

«Oh, captain!, my captain!» by Walt Whitman

Oh, captain, my captain, our terrible journey is over,

the ship has survived all the pitfalls,

we have won the prize we longed for,

The port is near, I hear the bells, the whole town rejoices,

while his eyes follow the keel, the bold and superb ship.

But, oh heart!, heart!, heart!
oh, red drops that fall,

there where my captain lies cold and dead!

Oh, captain!, my captain!, get up and listen to the bells,
Get up, the flag has been raised for you, the bugle vibrates for you,
for you corsages and garlands with ribbons,
for you crowds on the beaches,
for you the crowd cries out, to you the eager faces turn:

Come on, captain! Dear father!
Let my arm go under your head!
It must be a dream that you lie on the bridge,
knocked down, cold and dead.

My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and do not move,
My father doesn’t feel my arm, he has no pulse or will,
The ship, safe and sound, has anchored, her voyage is over,
Returning from her gruesome voyage, the victorious ship enters the port.
O beaches, rejoice! Ring bells!
But I, with sad steps,
I walk the bridge where my captain lies,
cold and dead

poetic recipient

The poetic addressee in this poem is Abraham Lincoln, whom the poet considered the guide of the nation.

«Song of Death» by José de Espronceda

Weak mortal, don’t be scared
my darkness nor my name;
in my bosom finds the man
a term to his regret.

I, compassionate, offer you
far from the world an asylum,
where in my quiet shadow
forever sleep in peace.

Island I am of rest
in the middle of the sea of ​​life,
and the sailor there forgets
the storm that passed;
there they invite sleep
pure waters without murmur,
there he falls asleep to the lullaby
of a noiseless breeze.

I am brooding willow
that its aching branches
lean on the forehead
that wrinkled the suffering,
and put the man to sleep, and his temples
with fresh juice sprinkles
while the shadow wing
beat oblivion over him.

I am the mysterious virgin
of the last loves,
and I offer a bed of flowers,
without thorn or pain,
and lover I give my love
without vanity or falsehood;
I do not give pleasure or joy,
but my love is eternal.

In me science is silent,
the doubt concludes in me
and arid, clear, naked,
I teach the truth;
and of life and death
to the wise I show the arcane
when he finally opens my hand
the door to eternity

come and your burning head
between my hands rests;
your dream, loving mother,
eternal I will give;
come and lie forever
in white fluffy bed,
where silence invites
to rest and non-existence.

let them trouble the man
how crazy the world is launched;
lies of hope
memories of the good that fled;
lies are their loves,
lies are their victories,
and its glories are lies,
and lies his illusion.

Close my merciful hand
your eyes to the white dream,
and drench soft henbane
your tears of pain

I will calm your grief
and your mournful moans,
turning off the beats
of your wounded heart

poetic recipient

In this work by the Spanish poet José de Espronceda, the poetic voice is death that addresses mortal beings, human beings who suffer and long for the rest of death, these being the poetic recipients.


Language poetry and the lyric subject. Retrieved from wings.buffalo.edu.
Lyrical subject/object. Recovered from enotes.com.

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