What is the poetic recipient? (With examples)

Philip Kelley
What is the poetic recipient? (With examples)

The poetic recipient in literatureis the person to whom a poem is addressed. This term is related to the lyrical subject, which is the narrating voice within a poem and should not be confused with the poet.

In this sense, the lyrical subject emits a message for a poetic recipient, who can be both an idealized person, who exists solely for the purposes of the work, as well as 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 the meaning of it, which is a bit cryptic because it is a poem of the hermetic movement.

This poem refers to war and means that the soldiers at the front resemble the 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 expresses it, who has participated in the war.

However, it could also be said that the poetic addressee is anyone who is not aware of the damage that war causes on the individuals who must experience it..

"Rima XVI" by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

If when rocking the blue bells

from your balcony,

do you think the wind passes by sighing


knows that hidden between the green leaves

I sigh.

If the confused resonating behind your back

vague rumor,

do you think that by your name he called you

distant voice,

know that between the shadows that surround you

I'll call you.

If he is fearful at night

your heart,

when you feel a breath on your lips


know that although invisible next to you

I breathe.

Poetic recipient

In this rhyme by Bécquer, the poetic addressee is the person observed, the one who thinks he hears the sigh of the wind, a distant voice calling him and who feels a scorching breath on his lips.

"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 remain firm on 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 hear the bells,
Get up, the flag has been raised for you, the clarion vibrates for you,
for you corsages and garlands with ribbons,
for you crowds on the beaches,
the crowd cries for you, anxious faces turn to you:

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 does not feel my arm, he has no pulse or will,
the ship, safe and sound, has anchored, its voyage is over,
back from its gruesome voyage, the victorious ship enters the harbor.
Oh beaches, rejoice! Ring bells!
But me, with sad steps,
I walk the bridge where my captain lies,
cold and dead.

Poetic recipient

The poetic addressee in this poem is the captain to whom the poetic voice is addressing:

Oh captain, my captain, our terrible journey is over

A slightly more in-depth study of Whitman's work shows that this poem is dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, this being the "captain" and, therefore, the poetic recipient..

"Song of Death" by José de Espronceda

Weak mortal don't scare you
my darkness nor my name;
man finds in my bosom
a term to his regret.

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

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

I am melancholic willow
that its suffering branches
lean on the forehead
that the suffering would wrinkle,
and sleeps the man, and his temples
with fresh juice sprinkles
while the shadowy wing
beats oblivion over him.

I am the mysterious virgin
of the last loves,
and I offer a bed of flowers,
no thorn or pain,
and lover I give my love
without vanity or falsehood;
I do not give pleasure or joy,
more is eternal my love.

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

Come and your burning head
lies between my hands;
your dream, loving mother;
I will give eternal gifts;
come and lie forever
in a white fluffy bed,
where silence invites
to rest and not being.

Let them unsettle the man
how crazy the world is launched;
lies of hope,
memories of the good that fled;
lies are his loves,
lies are your victories,
and their glories are lies,
and lie your illusion.

Close my pious hand
your eyes to the white dream,
and soak soft henbane
your tears of pain.

I will calm your brokenness
and your aching 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, specifically human beings, these being the poetic recipients. This is evident from the first stanza of the poem, in which it is expressed:

Weak deadly do not be scared
my darkness nor my name;
man finds in my bosom
a term to his regret.


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  5. Poetry. Retrieved on June 14, 2017, from study.com.
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