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What is a Narrative Poem and How to Write it

A narrative poem presents a series of events through action to tell a story. Basically, the stories narrated through the poetry are usually dramatic and compelling to readers. In this case, the three main types of narrative poems are epics, ballads, and Arthurian romances. Narrative poems contain all the elements of a fully developed story. Typically, a narrative poem has just one narrator. Also, it has a clear objective and a moral objective in the end. In turn, the best narrative poems use precise imagery and descriptive words to bring out a story’s details. This attitude creates a lot of sensory information that helps in grabbing the audience’s attention. Hence, it is critical to use clear, objective, and stereotype-free language to avoid confusion and anger from readers. Moreover, narrative poems have moral lessons that inform, aspire, and acts guidance for the future.

General Aspects

A narrative poem is one of the oldest poetic forms in the world that is still a perfect way to tell a modern story. Before printed books, people would tell stories through narrative poems using repetition, rhythm, rhyme, and vivid language to make their tales easy to remember and share. In this case, poems that make this genre can be short or long and capture an emotional intense or mysterious darky event. Thus, a narrative poem tells an entire story, usually written in metered verse. In turn, stories that narrative poems tell are often dramatic and compelling, detailing events, such as rocky romances or epic battles.

Narrative poem

Definition of Narrative Poem

A narrative poem is a genre of poetry that tells a story. Basically, such a work describes an entire account with the beginning, middle section, and an end. In this case, narrative poems contain all the elements of a fully developed story. By considering the narrative poem definition, these elements include characters, plot, conflict, action, setting, and resolution. Also, the written piece has one narrator or speaker. In turn, the key aspects of narrative poetry include:

  • A poem presents a series of events through action and dialogue.
  • Mostly feature a single speaker or narrator.
  • There is a clear sense of narration, plot, and characters.
  • A poem has a clear objective to reach a specific audience.

A significant defining feature of a narrative poem is its plot. Unlike other types of poems, it favors the development of the tale over emotions. In this case, a poem’s plot can be short or long. Further on, it may or may not rhyme because narrative poetry does not need a rhyming pattern. Hence, what is a narrative poem is that a written piece typically has just one narrator who shares an event.

Theoretical Background and Elements for How to Write a Narrative Poem

The Origin and Types of Narrative Poems

Narrative poetry grew out of oral traditions. For example, narrative poems originate from oral poetic narratives from different cultures. Basically, the three main types of narrative poems are epics, ballads, and Arthurian romances. While ballads poems intension is to be being sung and danced to, epical and Arthurian romances recorded human history, romance, and adventure. Moreover, narrative poems vary in styles and have changed over the years, as both literary trends and language have evolved.

Repetition

Repetition is an effective and powerful literal device strategy in a narrative poem. In this case, repeating keywords or phrases that are emotional or musical a few times makes it more natural to memorize. For instance, in his famous speech, Martin Luther King repeatedly repeats, “I have a dream” eight times, making the rhetoric powerful. Hence, repetition allows for poems to be more easily memorable.

Sound Patterns and Structure of a Narrative Poem

A narrative poem contains formal meter and rhyme structure. Basically, the work has no predictable structure, but it utilizes many poetic tools. Further on, such type of work uses word sounds, such as the assonance, the repeating of vowel sounds or alliteration, the repetition of consonance sounds in the same line. Also, the poem has stanzas, which may be rhymed or not. In turn, sound play is crucial because it creates musicality to capture the readers.

Use of Imagery and Figurative Language

The best narrative poems use precise imagery and descriptive words to bring out a story’s details. For instance, the figurative language helps to paint a rich picture of events. Also, to capture the reader’s attention, poets think of the five senses and use adjectives that help to describe what is happening. Basically, the descriptive words invoke sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings as the story unfolds. As a result of the imagery, readers can experience the world of the story and learn what is an example of a narrative poem. In this case, imaging creates a lot of sensory details that helps in grabbing the audience’s attention.

 Storytelling

Narrative poems skip the build-up and dive right to the center of the action. In this case, poets do not waste words by introducing characters or explaining scenes. Also, it starts in the middle of the action scene to bring the audience into the heart of the story. In turn, a narrative poem can tell an entire story in a few lines.

Narrative Meaning and Function

A narrative poem aims to make the voices of the narrator, and the characters heard to give a moral lesson at the end of the written piece. However, the lessons may be explicit or implicit. Hence, readers have to draw the meaning of the literature work through the analysis of characters and their actions. In the poem, the narrator experiences a particular emotion, which the poet makes sure that this feeling comes through in the choice of words and tone. Thus, narrative poems have moral lessons that inform, aspire, and acts guidance for the future.

Importance of Inclusive Writing

In a narrative poem, it is critical to use clear, objective, and stereotype-free language with no biases to avoid confusion and anger from readers. Basically, poets should avoid clichés and making generalizations when talking about race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientations, or people with disabilities. For the poem to send the intended message, it is vital to avoid emphasizing gender inappropriately. Desist from writing in a way that treats women unequally or trivializes women or men. Hence, it avoids value judgments about anyone based on their gender. In turn, such utterances diminish objectivity, especially when women are relentlessly fighting for equality to overcome biases all over the world.

An Example of a Narrative Poem

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kin came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulcher there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Literal Elements of Narration Poetry in “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe uses devices and elements of a narrative poem to convey his ideas, feelings, and message to the audience. Basically, he employs literal aspects to enhance the intended impact of the work. Also, the appropriate use of these devices makes the poem deep and thought-provoking for readers. In turn, some of the significant literal tools and elements of narrative poetry include:

Imagery and Figure of Speech

Poe uses visual imagery to make readers perceive things with their senses. For instance, Poe makes the readers imagine a cold and desolate place where he lives with the beloved “In this kingdom by the sea” (line 14). Basically, the language ignites a sense of feeling cold. Moreover, in the same line, he uses figurative language by invoking the sea, a metaphor for a vast area full of loneliness and nothingness.

Purpose of a Narrative Poem

The narrator in the poem is Annabel Lee’s lover and revolves around the speaker’s intense love. In this case, this work deals with the subject of the pure love that remains even after the person one loves is gone. For instance, Poe writes, “So that her highborn kin came/and bore her away from me (lines 17-18). Basically, Annabel’s lover is railing against people and supernatural beings who try to get in the way of love. Therefore, the popularity of the poem lies in how it represents love in its most pure form.

Structure and Sound Patterns

The poem has alliteration and assonance sound patterns. For example. Poe uses alliteration, the repetition of consonance sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /w/ and /l/ in “But we loved with a love that was more than love–” (line 9). It creates musicality. Then, Poe uses assonance, repeating vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /a/ and /i/ in “It was many and many a year ago” (line 1). The work has six stanzas with variable length and structure. Moreover, the rhyme scheme, followed by the entire poem is ABABCB. In turn, the sound play makes the work memorable.

Repetition in a Narrative Poem

The poet use repetition of some lines to emphasize a point. In the poem, Poe repeats, “Of the beautiful Annabel Lee” (lines 33, 35l and 37). Basically, the narrator emphasizes her beauty and his love for her through his powerful complement to her beauty. Additionally, together with the line “In a kingdom by the sea,” he creates the refrain of the poem (lines 8, 14, and 24). Poe repeats this idea in all stanzas in the written piece. Hence, repetition shows the great of the narrator and the loneliness after losing a great love.

Poe’s Storytelling

In “Annabel Lee,” Poe tells the entire story with the beginning, middle part, and an end about two lovers. The author draws the picture of his eternal love with Annabel Lee, with whom they loved each other since childhood. For instance, Poe writes, “The angels are not half so happy in Heaven / Went envying her and me” (lines 21-22). In this case, they loved each other so intense that angels in heaven became envious and killed Annabel Lee by sending cold winds. However, the narrator never stops loving her even after the devastation after the heart-wrenching demise of the beloved. In turn, they remain united even when their bodies are apart. Hence, this narrative poem teaches readers that true love resides in the soul, and it never dies. 

Summing Up on a Narrative Poem

A narrative poem is a form of poetry that tells a story. It mostly features a single speaker or narrator. Basically, this type of poem contains all the elements of a fully developed story, with the beginning, middle segment, and an end. In this case, the poem has a clear objective to reach a specific audience. Also, a significant defining feature of a narrative poem is its plot. There is a clear sense of narration with plot and characters. Then, these types of literary work have moral lessons that inform, aspire, and acts guidance for the future. In turn, poets use literal devices, such as repetition, imagery, rhyming, and sound play to enhance the intended impact of a narrative poem by bringing out a story’s details. The appropriate use of these devices makes the written work deep and thought-provoking for readers. Thus, a narrative poem tells a story.

Key Points to Remember

  • Tell the entire story.
  • Single narrator.
  • Literary devices.
  • Clear objective.
  • Plot.
  • Inclusive language.
  • Moral lesson.

Work Cited

Poe, Edgar A. “Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe.” Poetry Foundation, 2020, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44885/annabel-lee.