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Narrative Poetry

Narrative Poetry

Narrative poetry is a form of poetry which tells a story, often making use of the voices of a narrator and characters as well; the entire story is usually written in metered verse. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be complex.


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Megan Mockler

Megan Mockler

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During the Middle Ages, narrative poems transformed into courtly romance stories – Christian stories about heroic knights and the spiritual temptations they face on their journey, such as the Arthurian legends. Many of these stories also reduced to religious allegories, such as the epics of saints' lives.

Article: narrative, lyric, drama
Source: narrative, lyric, drama

A narrative poem can come in many forms and styles, both complex and simple, short or long, as long as it tells a story. A few examples of a narrative poem are epics, ballads, and metrical romances. In western literature, narrative poetry dates back to the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh and Homer's epics the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The art of narrative poetry is difficult in that it requires the author to possess the skills of a writer of fiction, the ability to draw characters and settings briefly, to engage attention, and to shape a plot, while calling for all the skills of a poet besides.

Narrative poetry is poetry that tells a story. Narrative poetry is one of the oldest forms of poetry and predates literacy. It was often used in ancient societies as a means of recording oral history, genealogy, and law because its formal meter and rhyme scheme made it easier to memorize than prose. Narrative poems are featured in many sacred scriptures, including the Bible, and were the primary method of telling stories before the advent of the short story and the novel.

Article: Using a Genre-Based Appro...
Source: poetrynarrative

In narrative poetry, the poet is neither the narrator nor a character in the story. The narrative is told from the point of view of a main character, a witness to the events in the story, or a person who is retelling a story he or she heard from another person.

Article: Using a Genre-Based Appro...
Source: poetrynarrative

If a poem is a narrative, it will tell about a series of events. A narrative poem can be interpreted using all the same devices of fiction and drama.

Article: Poetic Terms and Devices
Source: 1302PoetryTerms

Victorian narrative poetry dominated the era, with Victorian poets seeking to represent psychology in new ways through the use of self-scrutiny and the dramatic monologue. As one wit put it, the speakers in Victorian poetry are not so much heard as overheard.

Article: Victorian Period overview
Source: Victorian Period overview

Narrative poetry in Old English is frequently based upon Old Testament material, and Jews figure in narratives that use material from Christian legend and history as well. When the poetry dramatizes Jewish speakers and characterizes Judaism as a system of belief, its representations are dependent on textual traditions. The Anglo-Saxon encounter with Judaism is a textual encounter.

Article: Project MUSE - The Jewish...
Source: Project MUSE

First Person Narrative: A narrative or mode of storytelling in which the narrator appears as the 'I' recollecting his or her own part in the events related, either as a witness of the action or as an important participant in it. The term is most often used of novels such as Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" (1847), in which the narrator is also the central character. The term does not mean that the narrator speaks only in the first person, of course: in discussions of other characters, the third person will be used.

Article:   The Oxford Dictionary of …
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

Simply put, narrative is the representation of an event or a series of events. "Event" is the key word here, though some people prefer the word "action." Without an event or an action, you may have a "description," an "exposition," an "argument," a "lyric,"some combination of these or something else altogether, but you won't have a narrative.

Article:   The Cambridge Introductio…
Source:  Offline Book/Journal