Narrative poetry

Narrative poetry

Narrative poetry is poetry that has a plot. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be simple or complex. It is usually nondramatic, with objective regular scheme and meter.[1] Narrative poems include epics, ballads, idylls and lays.

Some narrative poetry takes the form of a novel in verse. An example of this is The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning. In terms of narrative poetry, a romance is a narrative poem that tells a story of chivalry. Examples include the Romance of the Rose or Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Although these examples use medieval and Arthurian materials, romances may also tell stories from classical mythology.

Shorter narrative poems are often similar in style to the short story. Sometimes these short narratives are collected into interrelated groups, as with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Some literatures contain prose narratives that include poems and poetic interludes; much Old Irish poetry is contained within prose narratives, and the Old Norse sagas include both incidental poetry and the biographies of poets. An example is "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service.


Oral tradition

Major forms

Novel · Poem · Drama
Short story · Novella


Epic · Lyric · Drama
Romance · Satire
Tragedy · Comedy


Performance (play· Book


Prose · Verse

History and lists

Outline of literature
Index of terms
History · Modern history
Books · Writers
Literary awards · Poetry awards


Criticism · Theory · Magazines

Much of poetry has its source in an oral tradition: the Scots and English ballads, the tales of Robin Hood, of Iskandar, and various Baltic and Slavic heroic poems all were originally intended for recitation, rather than reading. In many cultures, there remains a lively tradition of the recitation of traditional tales in verse form. It has been suggested that some of the distinctive features that distinguish poetry from prose, such as metre, alliteration, and kennings, at one time served as memory aids that allowed the bards who recited traditional tales to reconstruct them from memory.[2]

A narrative poem usually tells a story using a poetic theme. Epic poems are very vital to narrative poems, although it is thought that narrative poems were created to explain oral traditions. The focus of narrative poetry is often the pros and cons of life.

Narrative poems


Quill and ink.svg Poetry portal
  1. ^ Michael Meyer, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005, p2134.
  2. ^ David C. Rubin, Memory in Oral Traditions. The Cognitive Psychology of Epic, Ballads, and Counting-out Rhymes. (Taco University Press, 1991)

External links

JOSIE'S POEMS - Narrative Poems - There are many modern narrative poems on this website, including a short animated film of The Wizard of Alderley Edge on Welcome Page:

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Poetry — This article is about the art form. For other uses, see Poetry (disambiguation). Literature Major forms Novel · Poem · Drama Short story · Novella …   Wikipedia

  • Narrative — A narrative is a constructive format (as a work of speech, writing, song, film, television, video games, photography or theatre) that describes a sequence of non fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, to… …   Wikipedia

  • poetry — n. 1) to compose, write poetry 2) to memorize; read; recite; scan poetry 3) dramatic; epic, heroic; lyric; narrative poetry * * * [ pəʊɪtrɪ] epic heroic lyric narrative poetry read …   Combinatory dictionary

  • narrative — nar•ra•tive [[t]ˈnær ə tɪv[/t]] n. 1) a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious 2) lit. the art, technique, or process of narrating 3) lit. consisting of or being a narrative: narrative poetry[/ex] 4) of… …   From formal English to slang

  • Narrative Magazine — Narrative Editor Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks Categories Literary Magazine Frequency Triannual Founder Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks First issue 2003 (2003 month) …   Wikipedia

  • Narrative literature — ( Greek επική (ποίησις) epic belonging seal ) alongside the drama and the poetry the three major genres of literature and includes narrative literature in verse or prose formUntil the poetry of the 18th/19th Century, the epic a name for the art… …   Wikipedia

  • Narrative criticism — focuses on the stories a speaker or a writer tells to understand how they help us make meaning out of our daily human experiences. Narrative theory is a means by which we can comprehend how we impose order on our experiences and actions by giving …   Wikipedia

  • Poetry analysis — is the process of investigating a poem s form, content, and history in an informed way, with the aim of heightening one s own and others understanding and appreciation of the work.The words poem and poetry derive from the Greek poiēma (to make)… …   Wikipedia

  • POETRY — This article is arranged according to the following outline (for modern poetry, see hebrew literature , Modern; see also prosody ): biblical poetry introduction the search for identifiable indicators of biblical poetry the presence of poetry in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • poetry —    It is a commonly acknowledged truism that reading and writing poetry are both valued and difficult exercises. Poetry has an important cultural position because it is often manifestly difficult, made so by the apparent obscurity of its… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.