Six Elements Of Narrative Verse

If you know these elements — topic, theme, voice, viewpoint, moment, ending —and how they affect your story, you'll also be able to envision your narrative and simplify the creative process.

Topic: The subject matter has a beginning, middle and end. (Sometimes the ending comes first, the beginning second and the middle third —or some other combination —but all narratives, however innovative, contain all three.) Moreover, because of such a structure, you'll be able to sense a passage of time: First this happened, then this, and finally this.

To determine whether your topic suits the narrative mode, ask yourself: "What happens?" In every story poem, something has to occur or else you'll end up with a lyric — a work in which the poet fixes or focuses on a moment, feeling or concept. In narrative verse, action is required. But it need not be significant, as this poem by Corrinne Hales illustrates:

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