Narrative Definition

Narrative poetry is poetry that tells a story. In its broadest sense, it includes epic poetry; some would reserve the name narrative poetry for works on a smaller scale and generally with more direct appeal to human interest than the epic.


A narrative is story-telling, in this case in the form of a poem, where events or accounts are chronicled throughout the tale and to an audience. The dialogue between the narrator and characters within the story is often spoke in various combinations of metered verse but does not necessarily always have a rhyming aspect to it. There can be many different forms of narratives within poetry, both long and short, and they often will fall under the category of one of the following: ballads, lays, idylls, or epics.

The tradition and basis of narrative poetry can be traced back thousands and thousands of years, often being told through oral tales and legends. Some of the most popular examples that we have seen stand the test of time include Beowulf, which is the oldest poem in known English history, The Tales of Robin Hood, The Canterbury Tales, and many more. Often more than not, these narrative poems are written and told to tell a story that portrays a lesson or a specific theme for the readers and audience to learn and comprehend.

Narrative Poem Example

The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

Top 5 Narrative Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Premium Member Poem Where The Sycamore Grew Richards, Carrie Narrativeautumn, family, house, life,
Premium Member Poem Past-Life Nightmare Devonshire, Carolyn Narrativemystery, autumn,
Premium Member Poem Love in the Silence of the Soul Meade, David Narrativedeath, love, sorrow,
Premium Member Poem John Lennon Yvonne, Maurice Narrativemusic,
The Clouds A , Poet Destroyer Narrativeangel, beautiful, beauty, blessing,

Other Narrative Definition

[n] a message that tells the particulars of an act or occurrence or course of events; "his narrative was interesting"; "his stories entertained the children"
[adj] consisting of or characterized by the telling of a story; "narrative poetry"


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Misc. Definitions

\Nar"ra*tive\, a. [Cf. F. narratif.]
1. Of or pertaining to narration; relating to the particulars of an event or transaction.
2. Apt or inclined to relate stories, or to tell particulars of events; story-telling; garrulous. But wise through time, and narrative with age. --Pope.
\Nar"ra*tive\, n. That which is narrated; the recital of a story; a continuous account of the particulars of an event or transaction; a story. Cyntio was much taken with my narrative. --Tatler. Syn: Account; recital; rehearsal; relation; narration; story; tale. See {Account}.

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