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."
skyler on March 11, 2015:
thanks this was very helpful i had no idea what to do becuase my teachers didnt explain it enough you helped me get an A
yourmom on March 09, 2014:
thanks! this was so much help to me... and it looks like others too! keep up the amazing work.
Raven on May 15, 2013:
This totally reminded me of king kong it be cool if that's how king kong really went in the writers mind but they decided to highly exaggerate it haha
Lucie Grandbouche on January 17, 2013:
Very helpful! I have a homework assignment for 50 points and it's to write a narrative poem. This explained everything!
Alexis on May 13, 2012:
ugggh i have to write one of these, six haikus, 2 lyric poems, 2 free verses, 2 grammar poems, 2 odes, and 1 elegy for 125 points and its due in 2 days -_____- wish me luck /;
Alicia on May 01, 2012:
This doesn't seem difficult, now, can you convince my English teacher that there is no 'wrong' way to type a narrative poem?
julia on April 05, 2012:
these poems helped me a lot
Day&Pam on March 19, 2012:
awesome this really helped me on my assignment ! : )
sweetguide from River side on February 14, 2012:
Really helpful one thanks, dear Whitney05.
sadie royer on January 18, 2012:
this is great! Merci luv it
Lydia on January 16, 2012:
Thanks so much. The example was great I've got homework for narrative poems and this was really useful. YOUR AWESOME!!!!!!
Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 04, 2012:
Hi, this Hub is a related one to mine that I just wrote on a Grandmother's Endless Love. I like narrative poetry, but am never sure of myself. This Hub has been very helpful to me. Thanks for sharing.
krissa on December 07, 2011:
thanks for the tips and i learn how to write a narrative poem and i submit my project to my teacher!!!!!!!!!!
Barbara from Stepping past clutter on November 10, 2011:
I enjoyed your explanation of a narrative poem and also your silly example! It is fun to travel with creative minds like yours. Thanks.
Daniella Lopez on October 15, 2011:
Great and informative hub. Voted up!
stephanie on September 15, 2011:
this is great information.. i'm stuck on how to write a narrative poem in the anglo saxon style.. maybe you can help me? thank you
mrs mushi on September 09, 2011:
heeeeyyyyy you look like your the one who can help me figure out on doing a narrative poem.well seeing as this is such a good narrative pem i truly think and believe that you should a poem writer well a narrative one anywho.this is really good keep it up
Rosalindarosa on May 12, 2011:
Thank you i had a hard time writing a Narrative poem, maybe because i was afraid, thanks for the confidence and the lesson. I appreciate you. Now i really understand it. God bless you !
yasmin on March 29, 2011:
i need ideas for a narritive poem assignment.. can anyone help
marieke and jenna on March 23, 2011:
Jenna- I find this was a VERY CUTE poem, It touched me, But it was a bit plain. :P
Marieke- It was plain, But cute, And Jimmy is a cute name for an ape and I don't think Jimmy would have jumped in the plane.:P
xoxo Jenna and Marieke :D
Rhonda Musch from The Emerald Coast on February 25, 2011:
Wow this is truly great. Loved It.
Sweet wishes Rhonda
Karyme on February 18, 2011:
thanks now i now what i can use for my homework
Multiman on January 25, 2011:
Thanks for the article it helped me with a performance poem for a slam I am working on.
Yumna on December 17, 2010:
I'm in grade 8 and I had to write some narrative poetry thing... this helped a lot! (especially the bit that said it doesn't have to rhyme)=D
lulu on November 16, 2010:
i had an assignment and i finally got it done
mimic on November 12, 2010:
This is a good poem,, but not exactly what im looking for, a narrative poem about afro asia is what i need.. but thanks,, i have an idea about my project.
K.A.E Grove from Australia on October 23, 2010:
fantastic hub full of great info for those of starting out or picking up the pen for a second time...
Leaning to write a poem on October 08, 2010:
great poem i think i'll be able to write a narrative now.
limegreen on October 07, 2010:
awesome helped a lot
Leni Sands from UK on September 16, 2010:
Stephanie on June 02, 2010:
I have a narrative poem to write and it's sooo hard
Gwen on June 01, 2010:
i have to write many poems do for an assignment tommorrow i have a good concrete one right now!
gogobaybi on May 26, 2010:
OMG i have to write a narritive for my homework assignment so hard to write ! ! ! ! !
Breannahuckaby on May 16, 2010:
well now i now how to write a narrative poem now because of your help (:LOL:)
goblinterk517 on May 09, 2010:
well now i know how to write a narrative poem now thanks im goin to get so much better grades for this subject thanks to you
britty on March 29, 2010:
thanks... i have to write a narrative poem for english. so, this helped out!
Kate on January 19, 2010:
I love you!!!! Now I understand what I have to do for homework!!!
cj on January 19, 2010:
thanks for posting this now i understand how to write a narrative poem for my homework
Lipstick on January 13, 2010:
nice topic, very helpful
thanks for posting this
Kid Eternity from Alabama on December 04, 2009:
I enjoyed reading this hub a lot Whitney. I was glad to find it.
Gustave Kilthau from USA on October 13, 2009:
Hi Whitney - A fine article, and I enjoyed reading the NP you used as an example. Gus
big dog on September 01, 2009:
thanks for the help
pinkhawk from Pearl of the Orient on August 19, 2009:
wow this is great! :)...thank you ma'am, i really learned something. I'll try this (most of the time i just write without minding the rules and without knowing the type of poem im writing about..just want to write when word dashes-that's it)...thank you very much again for sharing this! :)
Oscar R. on July 30, 2009:
I loved your poem. Hoped I could write like you one day
fe#1 on June 02, 2009:
This is so cool. I love the poem about jimmy. The kid who wrote that has talent!!!!!!!!!!!!
Soccerdemon on May 17, 2009:
im still in junior high so i don't rlly know how to write a lot of poems but you helped me a lot thnx
Rosie Freestone on May 15, 2009:
I loved the poem
biggie angel on May 05, 2009:
Neat poem...your tips really helped me write an A+ narrative!Thanx!!
Angel Face on May 05, 2009:
Thanks for the help im usually pretty good at writing and well now that i have to write a poetry book for and asignment im stuck!!!!
brad86 on April 19, 2009:
i cant write a narative poem for my life!!!!! someone please HEEEEEELP me!
Nick on February 26, 2009:
Ben i feel ya it's hard writing a narrative poem period!! It would probably take me 5 hours to try to write my own without looking at the pcfor inspiration.
Jess on January 14, 2009:
I love that poem. I am mmore at ease writing poetry now. I am an author, but feel more comfortable with poetry. THANKYOU!!
NOUR KHALED on November 11, 2008:
I AM STILL AT SCHOOL . AM LEARNING HOW TO WRITE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEOMS WHICH I'M REALLY BAD AT. SO TRY TO WRITE MORE GREAT AND NICE POEM LIKE THE ONE ABOUT JIMMY.
dashboard on November 05, 2008:
um... thanx for the hints!
lollypopgirl87 on November 03, 2008:
this is a awesome poem !
Ben on September 10, 2008:
I'm a student in a middle school and I can't for the life of me write a one page narrative poem that rymes!!!! HEELP!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 23, 2008:
highwaystar- I have many interests. Poetry is and has been one of them for years.
Raven- narrative poems are usually thought of in regards to epics, but they don't always have to be. As long as they tell a story.
Thank you for the typo check! I just corrected it.
Robert P from Canada on February 23, 2008:
Nice hub. Just thought I'd mention that you have a typo in the title.
Raven King from Cabin Fever on February 23, 2008:
Thanks for this positive article on writing poetry. Now it doesn't seem too scary.
highwaystar on February 23, 2008:
Thanks whitney05...you're a lady of many inspirational talents, what do you just do for fun, cheers!