Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 10, page 1 of 1)


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Chapter 10

Narrative poetry is poetry that tells a story. It is extremely popular, and almost everyone has read some of the famous narrative poems. Do "Casey At the Bat", "The Cremation of Sam McGee", and the "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" ring any bells.

Narrative poetry has characters, dialogue, conflicts, plot, setting -- all the things we worked on in the first seven lessons of this book.

The who, what, when, where, why poem we wrote in the last section is an example of a shorter narrative poem.

The difference between a story and a narrative poem is that the narrative poem is in poetic form not in prose. It relies on rhythm and rhyme and is arranged in stanzas.

The poem has a plot, a sequence of events that take place and that present a conflict. Next, the poem adds complications. There are a climax and a resolution.

A. Write a narrative poem using the "I" viewpoint. Do a poem about meeting the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend. Divide your poem into stanzas of 4-6 lines. Use a definite rhyming pattern.

For instance, in every stanza, lines 2 and 4 should rhyme.

In Stanza one, introduce yourself and the setting.

In Stanza two, you meet this "angel".

In Stanza three, add that inciting element.

In at least the next two stanzas, add complications and suspense.

In the next stanza, write the climax of your story.

In the final stanza, wrap everything up.

B. Find a song which tells a story. Write down who the characters are, what the plot is, what the conflict is, and what the theme is.

C. Find a narrative poem in a literature book and read it aloud. Write down who the characters are, what the plot is, what the conflict is, and what the theme is.

D. Write another narrative poem, rhymed or un-rhymed, of at least six stanzas.

Work with a partner to write the poem and draw at least one illustration for each stanza.


Perform your poem for your writing group. One person reads the poem while the other shows the illustrations. If you are not a part of a writer's group, do it anyway. It is a fun exercise.

E. Write a narrative poem in comic strip form with at least 12 panels. Make your protagonist a super hero or super heroine.

F. Write a narrative poem which represents your best effort. Each student reads his narrative poem aloud. The rest of the class votes on the best poem and the best poet wins a prize. The poem must fit into one of the following categories.

1. Supernatural 2. Romance 3. Sports 4. School 5. Adventure 6. Fantasy G. Find a story or movie that you really like and do a narrative poem based on it.

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