How to Write a Narrative Poem
A narrative poem is one that tells a story. It can be short or long. It can rhyme with a set pattern or without; it doesn't doesn't have to rhyme, though. It can have a set meter or be a little varied. Narrative poems don't follow too many rules, except that they must tell a story.
Although there are few rules to narrative poetry, most narrative poems to include meter, iambs, and rhymes to help create a more aesthetic picture.
Common narrative poems include epics, ballads, and idylls.
Famous narrative poems include The Divine Comedy by Dante, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer, and The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
Book of Narrative Poems
Tips to Writing a Narrative Poem
- Think of your main character, whether it will be a person or an animal- most narratives focus on a living being. And, write a small statement of mini paragraph about the character.
- Start with a general outline of the poem. What do you want to happen to the character throughout the poem?
- Choose an event to start the poem. You can't just start all willy nilly. The event will help you portray the perfect feel, thought, and image to your poem. If you have a specific idea that you want to say, having the perfect event will help you get across your words.
- Once you know where you want to go with your poem, start writing.
Once writing your narrative poem, try to consider the following tips:
- The one great thing about poetry, is that it comes from the heart, body, and soul, of the poet. No poem is wrong, and no poet is wrong for writing the poem.
- You can portray just about any emotion or idea in a poem, and as long as you know what you want to say, the words tend to follow shortly after.
- Try to include fact, fiction, and a little personal reality to your poem. You can include various myths to help your narrative poem along, but try not to surround the story with mysticism.
- Use vivid words and adjectives to help create the picture. As a poet, you don't want to throw away your words to simplicity, such as "The brown dog chased the orange cat." Yes, the image is created, but what shade of brown, did he have spots? Was it a tabby cat? Were they thin, starving strays, or plump house pets?
- Go bold. Go big!
Example of a Kid's Narrative Poem
Jimmy Goes to the City by Arthur Read from PBS's "Arthur"
Jimmy was a happy ape
Until some hunters caught him
He liked the jungle better than
The city where they brought him
The city was louder
The city was meaner
Even the dirt in the jungle was cleaner
So Jimmy made a daring escape!
The hunters were suddenly minus one ape!
He climbed the tallest building
Because from there he'd see
How far away the jungle was
From the middle of the city.
Jimmy jumped into a passing plane
But the pilot didn't wait for him to explain
Jimmy flew back to the jungle
And told his ape friends in their lair
"The city's okay for a visit
But you couldn't make me live there."