A Form Of Poetry That Tells A Story

Narrative Poetry

Narrative poetry is a form of literature that tells a story. Its origins date back to antiquity and examples of it can be found in the oral traditions of many cultures. Narrative poetry can be divided into two broad categories: ballads and epics. Both have roots in the oral tradition, but their development and style are different. The ballad is a short, dramatic tale, usually sung or recited in verse. Characterized by short lines, a simple refrain, and often repeated phrases, the ballad is usually told in the first person, creating the sense that the teller is a participant in the story.

Epics, on the other hand, took the story-telling aspect of narrative poetry to a higher level. These long, narrations, which can span hundreds of lines, often encompassed the heroic deeds of a particular hero or heroine, and ranged from major historical events to everyday adventures. Classic epics such as “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” (both attributed to Homer) and “The Epic of Gilgamesh” are just some of the most famous examples of this form of narrative poetry.

Narrative poetry can also be used to make political statements, express religious beliefs, or to provide moral instruction. Throughout history, poets have used this form to raise awareness of social injustice or to praise a particular person or group. In many cultures, narrative poetry is seen as a way to maintain societal traditions and keep stories alive.

This form of literature has undergone a renaissance in recent years. Thanks to modern technology, poets are able to reach wider audiences through social media, websites, and blogs. Some narrative poets choose to tell their stories through audio or video recordings of their work, adding another layer of depth to the story. Additionally, new forms of narrative poetry that blend spoken-word, rap, and hip-hop music have been developed to create fresh, modern works.

In addition to its entertainment and creative value, narrative poetry can also play an important role in education. Studies have found that narrative poems can provide students with a powerful tool for developing their literacy skills. By reading and understanding narrative poems, students can gain a greater knowledge of literature, language, and history — all of which are necessary components of successful learning.

As a form of storytelling, narrative poem have people have been captivated for centuries. This type of literature is able to connect with the reader on a personal level and to express deep emotions through its words. Whether used for political gain, education, or creative expression, narrative poetry has been, and continues to be, a popular form of literature for readers of all ages.

Rhyme Scheme

One of the most important elements of narrative poetry is the rhyme scheme. Like other forms of poetry, narrative poetry often uses a specific pattern of rhyming words to create a sense of unity and harmony to the work. Additionally, the rhyme scheme can provide structural guidance to the poet when mapping out the narrative. Rhyme schemes can range from simple rhymes, such as ABAB or ABCB, to more complex schemes such as AABBA or AABB. Most narrative poets use rhyme schemes that are relatively simple and easy to follow.

In addition to providing structure, the rhyme scheme can also be used to add sound effects to the poem. This can be particularly helpful in narrative poems, where the poet is trying to effectively tell a story and evoke emotion in the listener or reader. By carefully selecting the words and their rhymes, the poet can enhance the message of the poem and create a deeper connection with the reader.

This is particularly important in ballads, where the message must be clearly conveyed through the use of simple, poetic devices. The internal rhyme of the ballad can create a soundscape within the poem, making the story seem more tangible and moving to the reader.

While narrative poems can be written without rhyme, many poets find that rhyming words are an effective way to add emotion to their works. Rhyme also has a mnemonic effect, allowing the reader to remember the structure of the poem and its message.


Meter is the rhythmic pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables found in a line of poetry. In narrative poetry, this pattern can vary depending on the story and the particular style of the poet. Generally speaking, most narrative poets avoid long, overly-complicated meters and instead prefer simpler ones, as they can be easier to read and memorize. For instance, a common meter in narrative poetry is the iambic pentameter, a 10-syllable line, with five sets of two alternating stressed and unstressed syllables. This meter is often used for stories that cover a longer period of time and more complicated topics.

In addition to the iambic pentameter, some narrative poets use shorter meters such as the trochaic tetrameter, which consists of 8 syllables with four alternating stress and unstress sections. Commonly used in ballads and folks songs, this meter can help the poet convey a sense of urgency and emphasis to the story.

Other meters used in narrative poetry include dactylic, anapaestic, and amphibrachic meters. While these are not as commonly used as the ones mentioned before, they can still help create a sense of rhythm and structure in the poem. Additionally, they can be used to create a musical quality, further helping the narrative come alive in the reader’s mind.


Narrative poetry often follows a specific format and style. This can include the use of symbols, repetition, and figurative language. Symbols, such as the moon or the sea, can used to convey deeper emotions or convey a moral message. Repetition can be used to drive the point of the poem home and to emphasize certain words or phrases. Lastly, figurative language, such as similes and metaphors, can be used to create vivid visual images for readers to imagine. All of these techniques combine to form the unique tapestry of a narrative poem.

The structure of a narrative poem will also differ from other forms of poems. Typically, the poem will start with an introduction that sets the stage for the story and introduces the characters. This is followed by a body in which the story unfolds. The poem will then end with some type of resolution or closure that ties the story together and gives it meaning.

In addition to its structure, narrative poems usually have a conversational tone. This allows the poet to inject their own voice into the poem and create an intimate connection with the audience or reader. This is especially true of ballads, where the teller takes on the role of a storyteller and interacts with the listener.


Narrative poem can be written about a seemingly endless array of topics. Depending on the cultural context, they can be used to address social concerns, praise a particular figure, or tell a personal story. Some narrative poems focus on current events, while others look to the past for inspiration. Many poets use their own lives as the basis for their poems, providing an intimate look at the human condition.

Many narrative poets also choose to explore mythological or legendary themes. These works can help express beliefs, values, and challenges faced by different cultures. By looking to the past, poets can draw parallels between the values of yesterday and today.

Finally, some narrative poets choose to focus on more abstract topics, such as nature or philosophy. By exploring these themes, poets can create works that explore greater questions about the human experience and existence.


Today, more and more contemporary poets are embracing the idea of collaboration. By sharing their works with other writers, poets can gain feedback and advice from others in their field. Additionally, by working with other writers, poets can draw on their unique perspectives and experiences

This type of collaboration can take many forms, and can range from simply bouncing around ideas to forming a group in which each person contributes to the composition. Collaborative poems can provide a richer experience for both poet and reader, as the multiple perspectives can add depth and texture to the work.

In addition to collaborating with other writers, narrative poets also often work with musicians or visual artists. These collaborations can provide a unique insight into the poem’s meaning, as the visuals or music can add a new layer of interpretation. The combination of all the elements can result in a truly immersive and powerful experience.


The oral, storytelling aspect of narrative poems has made them a popular choice for performance. Throughout history, narrative poems have been recited or sung at community gatherings, as each story had its own unique power to captivate and entertain the audience. Additionally, narrative poems that tell stories of heroic deeds are often popular motifs in stage presentations, helping to bring the poem to life.

In modern times, many poets have taken the idea of performance and pushed it further. By combining spoken-word or rap, with music and visuals, narrative poets create modern works such as “slam poetry” or rap battles. These performances can be powerful experiences for the poet and the audience, offering a unique insight into the narrative.

In addition to being an effective way to communicate stories, performance also has other benefits. It can be used to provide a platform for individual and collective expression, and can be used to reach wider audiences. Furthermore, it can be a powerful tool for nurturing the imagination and inspire new works.


Narrative poetry has been a popular form of literature for thousands of years, and has been used to entertain and educate people around the world. Its contribution to literature is immense and its impact is still felt today. Whether used to tell stories or express complex ideas, narrative poetry is a powerful force in the world of literature.

The modern sources of this form of poetry are also many and varied. Social media has given rise to a new generation of storytellers, and podcasts and videos have allowed poets to reach out to new audiences. This makeover of the traditional narrative poem provides a new way for readers to connect with the stories and experiences of others.

Thanks to its versatility and power to move audiences, it is easy to see why narrative poetry has endured throughout history. As long as there are stories to tell and questions to explore, narrative poetry will continue to be an integral part of literature.

Minnie Walters is a passionate writer and lover of poetry. She has a deep knowledge and appreciation for the work of famous poets such as William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and many more. She hopes you will also fall in love with poetry!

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