Narrative poems tell a story about characters progressing through a plot in verse form. Narrative poems were often told or performed verbally for an audience. For example, the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the "Iliad" are about great deeds of heroes, whereas the American folk song "Jesse James" is a ballad. Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" represents a mock-epic narrative poem.Continue Reading
Most stories, especially in ancient times, were conveyed orally rather than written down and read, so strong oral traditions developed that used poetic devices, such as alliteration and meter, to aid in memory. Eventually some of these stories were transcribed in their verse form. Oral poetry is usually about gods, heroes or folk histories and includes the "Nibelungenlied," Homer's epics "Iliad" and "Odyssey," the "Epic of Gilgamesh," the poems of the "Elder Edda," tales of Robin Hood and the "Popul Vuh."
Narrative poems are generally divided into categories, including epics, mock-epics, ballads and idylls. Epics, such as John Milton's "Paradise Lost," are concerned with great and serious events. Heroes are usually larger than life, and they are likely to encounter the supernatural. Mock-epics utilize traditional epic conventions and techniques, implying great importance to insignificant or commonplace occurrences. Ballads are narrative poems that are sung to a melody. This is one of the most common folk traditions in nearly every culture throughout history. Idylls, beginning with Theocritus' "Idylls," deal with stories about simple, good lives, usually in a rural setting away from worldly cares.Learn more about Poetry
Poems that do not rhyme but still follow regular metrical patterns are called blank verse poems. Poems that do not rhyme or follow any metrical pattern are called free verse poems.Full Answer >
Blank verse poetry was introduced in 1540 by the Earl of Surrey. Poets such as Shakespeare, John Donne and John Keats have used it. John Milton's "Paradise Lost" is one of the most famous blank verse poems in English literature. The full-length epic poem closely adheres to the iambic pentameter meter and does not rhyme. The poem is divided into twelve books.Full Answer >
One sad poem, titled "Alone," and written by Edgar Alan Poe in 1829, tells a story of inner turmoil. The poem was not published until after Poe's death, but is dated one month after his foster mother had passed away. Poe describes his sadness throughout the poem, as can be seen in this excerpt, "My sorrow; I could not awaken / My heart to joy at the same tone."Full Answer >
A dramatic situation in poetry is the underlying plot line that is created to place the characters in conflict with themselves or others. It is a literary tool that is used to force the audience to become emotionally invested in the poem.Full Answer >