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Introduction to Poetry: Narrative and Lyric Poetry Defined

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/14/2012

This introduction to poetry includes a narrative poetry definition, a lyric poetry definition.

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    Introduction to Poetry

    The types of poetry in this introduction to poetry is not an explanation of poetic forms--free verse, sonnet, haiku, ballad, sestina; rather, it is an overview of different types of poetic content. It includes a narrative poetry definition with examples and a lyric poetry definition with examples.

    • Narrative Poetry: Narrative poetry is poetry that tells a story. It pleases on two levels. It combines the excitement of a story with the elements of poetry. Don't let the simplicity of this narrative poetry definition deceive you. The narratives are often complex and reading the poems more than once is often a necessity. Examples of narrative poems include "Casey at the Bat" by Earnest Lawrence Thayer, "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, and "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" by John Keats.

    Lesson Ideas for Narrative Poetry

    1. Convert a popular short story into a narrative poem. This can also be done with a movie, novel, or play.
    2. Have students brainstorm a plot for a story and turn it into a play. Make sure students understand the elements of poetry--meter, rhyme, figurative language, sound devices.
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    Lyric Poetry Definition and Examples

    • Lyric Poetry: highly musical verse that expresses the speaker's feelings and observations. In ancient times poems were sung with accompaniment from a lyre. Modern lyric poems, although usually not sung, still posses musical qualities--rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Examples of lyric poems include "The Eagle" by Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Bells" by Edgar Allan Poe, and "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth.

    Lesson Ideas

    1. Instruct students to write about something beautiful they have seen. Convert this scene into a lyric poem, using the elements of poetry.
    2. Read a lyric poem. Instruct students to imitate the style and write a lyric poem of their own
    3. Read a short story containing a vivid description. Convert that description into a lyric poem.