With whom would you speak? The Apostrophe

An apostrophe is an address – or a question – addressed to someone or something – i.e. an apple?  The person – or thing – doesn’t have to be present – or living. 

Examples of  familiar apostrophe poems include:

  • 'Milton' by William Wordsworth
  • Julius Caesar and King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats
  • "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" by Lord Byron
  • O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
  • "The Sun Rising" by John Donne

One of the more famous contemporary poems is Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy”:

It’s a poem from our archives – Negative Capability: Vol XIV: 1& 2, 1994.  The poem is by Nicholas Stix – who in 1994 was in Brooklyn, NY.


Please do no call to me, Mother,
While I am making pancakes,
The making of pancakes
Is an exact art,
Requiring focus,
Nothing may come bet ween a man
And the particular pancake
In his pan,
This is known as
“Cereal monogamy,”
For I have wept and prayed,
And fasted and suffered,
And partaken of many
A burnt pancake,
And this I have learned:
Making pancakes is an exact art.

I can think of several people and things this morning I could address:

Eve’s apple / Spring Hawthorne (Today is the first day of Spring 2015), my dog, panting / my sister whom I can no longer call on the phone), My father, my dead father (after Lissa Kiernan), my lisping computer / my husband who is having at our bathroom mirror . . .

The apostrophe has a wide range of possibility.  Try it.