Narrative poetry is based in the traditions of storytelling and folk tales. It always has a plot- something happens. A narrative poem usually tells a story using a poetic theme. Narrative poems were created to explain oral traditions. The focus of narrative poetry is often the pros and cons of life. Types of narrative poems include:
- Epic – a long, serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure
- Ballad – a narrative poem that tells a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain. The ballad’s 4-3-4-3 line beat in matching quatrains has become the most familiar spoken-word and recorded poetic form of modern times.
- Idyll – either a short poem depicting a peaceful, idealized country scene, or long poems that tell a story about ancient heroes. The word is derived from the Greek word ‘eidyllion’ meaning “little picture”. Idylls can be lyric poems if their subject matter tends towards the pastoral.
- Lay – a long narrative poems, especially one sung by medieval minstrels and French trouveres.
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Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. It is usually short and song-like. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat. The lyric poem, dating from the Romantic era, does have some thematic antecedents in ancient Greek and Roman verse, but the ancient definition was based on metrical criteria, and in archaic and classical Greek culture presupposed live performance accompanied by a stringed instrument.
- Sonnet – English (or Shakespearean) sonnets are lyric poems that are 14 lines long falling into three coordinate quatrains and a concluding couplet. Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnets are divided into two quatrains and a six-line sestet.
- Ode – a long poem which is serious in nature and written to a set structure; often a tribute to a person, place, thing, or sentiment.
- Haiku – a Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables often based on an image.
- Villanelle – a nineteen-line poem with two rhymes throughout, consisting of five tercets and a quatrain, with the first and third lines of the opening tercet recurring alternately at the end of the other tercets and with both repeated at the close of the concluding quatrain.
- Cinquain – a short, usually unrhymed poem consisting of twenty-two syllables distributed as 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, in five lines.
- Aubade – a song or poem greeting the dawn or describing a dawn parting.
- Ghazal – a lyric poem with a fixed number of verses and a repeated rhyme, typically on the theme of love, and normally set to music. This form of poem is traditional to the Middle East.
- Bhajan – any type of Indian devotional song. It has no fixed form. Often, bhajans praise the sacred and holy.
- Pastoral – a poem that depicts rural life in a peaceful, idealized way for example of shepherds or country life.
- Romantic verse – Nature and love were a major themes of Romanticism favoured by 18th and 19th century poets such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. Emphasis in such poetry is placed on the personal experiences of the individual.
- Elegy – a sad and thoughtful poem lamenting the death of a person.
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