Narrative Poetry

Narrative poetry is a form of poetry that tells a story, often using the voices of both a narrator and characters; the entire story is usually written in metred verse. Narrative poems do not need rhyme. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be complex. It is normally dramatic, with various characters. Narrative poems include all epic poetry, and the various types of “lay”, most ballads, and some idylls, as well as many poems not falling into a distinct type.

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 the 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 those examples use medieval and Arthurian materials, romances may also tell stories from classical mythology. Sometimes, these short narratives are collected into interrelated groups, as with Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. So sagas include both incidental poetry and the biographies of poets.

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Oral tradition

The decessor of essentially all other modern forms of communication. For thousands of years, cultures passed on their history through the oral tradition from generation to generation. Historically, much of poetry has its source in an oral tradition: in more recent times the Scots and English ballads, the tales of Robin Hood 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 format. 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.

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

List of narrative poems

  • La Araucana, Spanish epic by Alonso de Ercilla
  • Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
  • Beowulf, oldest known English poem
  • The Book of the Duchess by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  • The Divine Comedy by Dante, Italian epic
  • Don Juan by Lord Byron
  • The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats
  • Cantar de mio Cid, (anonymous) medieval Spanish epic
  • The Elder Edda (anonymous)
  • The Iliad and the Odyssey, attributed to Homer
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh, (anonymous) ancient Babylonian/Sumerian epic
  • Hudibras by Samuel Butler
  • The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
  • The Kalevala, Finnish national epic by Elias Lönnrot
  • Lamia by John Keats
  • “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes
  • The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Os Lusíadas (Portugal’s national epic) by Luís de Camões
  • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
  • Virgil’s Aeneid, the Roman national epic
  • Metamorphoses by Ovid
  • Statius’ Thebaid
  • The Prelude by William Wordsworth
  • Paul Revere’s Ride (The Landlord’s Tale) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz
  • Piers Plowman by William Langland
  • The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare
  • Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
  • Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton
  • The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning
  • The Set-Up by Joseph Moncure March
  • The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • The Song of Roland (anonymous), French chanson de geste
  • The Wild Party by Joseph Moncure March
  • The Wreck of the Hesperus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Tam Lin (anonymous)
  • Tam o’ Shanter, by Robert Burns
  • Terje Vigen by Henrik Ibsen
  • The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll
  • Out, Out- by Robert Frost
  • The Battle of Blenheim by Robert Southey
  • Love, Dad by Eavin Antony Kunnamkudath
  • “Lục Vân Tiên” by Nguyễn Đình Chiểu
  • “Lays of Ancient Rome” by Thomas Babington Macaulay
  • “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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